This Actually Happened. Today.

My Day

After this day, I think I’m just done

The novelty worn off: me-0, deployment – 1.

The kids were crazy, stuck inside this rainy wet day

While making lunch, nearly chopped half my finger away!

“Stop teasing your sister!” “Leave your brother alone!”

Even I can’t stand the sound of my going on like a drone.

I didn’t get enough sleep, woke up so dang cranky

Stayed up watching SNL, and it wasn’t even funny.

There isn’t enough coffee on days like these

And it doesn’t help when you don’t hear thank you or please.

I know it’s only spilt milk – no big deal really

But wiping it up for the 4th time (no lie) I felt silly.

Perhaps back to sippy cups – the thought made me chuckle

and that’s right about when I twisted my ankle!

Dang Thomas trains under my feet once again

I thought they were picked up – I must be insane!

Pulling up these bootstraps, I think I’m getting stronger

Only to see the to-do list has a mind of it’s own and grows longer!

All the craziness done, kids bathed and in bed

I feel the pounding subside inside of my head

Who cares about the dishes, the laundry can wait

Right now all I want, I’m sure you can relate

Is some time with him home – perhaps a date.

On second thought – I’ll hand him the kids as I say “farewell”

And drive away fast turning off the dang cell!

Where should I go, on this mommy holiday?

Anywhere sunny is all I can say!

Because after today no place would be finer

A massage, a spa day, better yet – a cruise liner!

If another one comes like the day we had today

I will walk straight to the shore and jump into the bay!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Days When It All Works…

I love the days when it all just works. You lay out a plan, you execute the plan, and the kidlets cooperate. Sunday was one of those days for us. We had a birthday party to go to, and despite it being and hour and half drive each way, I decided to just go. It was a blast and I’m so glad we went. (Plus it was for Jacob’s little preschool friend that he just ADORES!) 

They had the party in at this place called The Little Gym (kind of like Gymboree). Great place to have a kid party – they do all the set up/clean up for you! It was so fun – and after that long in the car – there was energy to be burned!

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Not quite sure what this crazy weird smile is all about, but he thinks its funny!

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They got to lay on the big blow up mat while it was inflating! So fun!

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That blur would be Jake mid-maneuver!

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High-fiveing the Little Gym employee! So cute! Jake and Hannah both LOVED him!

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Jake sitting next to the birthday girl!

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They were so cute and well-behaved. It was really a perfect day!

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Then of course, there are days like today. They start out great, but then slowly take a dive! Workout this morning went great, playing in the beautiful sun was fabulous. Stopped at the store for some items, had lunch and in the process Jake spilled is lemonade all over me and our recent purchases. Then we hit the play park and Hannah ran in front of the swing while Jake came crashing into her. She flew in the air about 3 feet and landed on her side. In the midst of the collision, Jake bit his lip pretty good so blood was a-spewing. Tears flowed, other parents came over to assist (much to Jake’s dismay). Needless to say, it was AWESOME.

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Fat lips and bonked sides – it’s all in a day’s work!

Oh No! Here We Go Again…

Whoever said two’s were “terrible” were liars! I’d take two’s back any day. Terrible 3’s is more like it. (Okay – call it “Terrific 3’s” if we’re gonna be all PC about it.) In our house, it’s beginning again. We have a 2 1/2 year old and she’s got the full on 3’s. Bring on the tantrums, being inconsolable, and downright defiant with the “No!” Argh!

Yes, I do know it’s a stage. Yes, this too shall pass. I get all that. I even somewhat get that I’ll “miss this part of raising kids”; so says the random lady witnessing one of the catastrophic end-of-the-world meltdowns that transpired today. I’m not certain I believe her though. I don’t miss this phase with my son…and he’s barely out of it.

Here’s how our day went: (because I know you want to live vicariously through me!)

Not only are we at the tail end of moving and beating back the sea of boxes, we have regular life (i.e. post-op dental appointment) to deal with as well. In true form, Jake was shall we say “difficult” and put up a bit of a fight to let the doc look at his teeth. Then there was the having to say “goodbye” to the toys at the office upon completion of the check-up. One of them would be ready to go, then the other would be digging in heels. I had visions of doing the sideways-carry-to-the-car I’ve employed before. Luckily, bribery was working today and the carrot on the end of the stick was a lunch date at Red Robin. (Oh, the days when I was a “good parent” and NEVER would have used bribery! You know, before I had kids!)

Finally in the car, everyone is in, has buckled his or her OWN buckle, and closed his and her OWN door and coats are on (or off depending on the current preference) – off we go to grab some lunch. Or at least to the restaurant’s parking lot before the next meltdown needs averting. Grab my cape, tie it on and voila! SUPER MOM to crisis management:

Jake climbing out of the car: “Mom, I don’t wanna wear my coooooaaatt! (yes, that would be the sound of whining).

Me (internally trying to take a deep breath and not lose patience): “Jake. It’s very cold. You have to wear a coat. Once we get inside, you can take it off.”

Back and forth. He then tries to negotiate with me to just hold it, or just hang the hood on his head and not put his arms in the sleeves.

Really?! By this time – we could have been in the joint ordering some food.

Me: “You have two choices: put your coat on or get back in the car and we will go home for lunch.”

When that did the trick, lunch went pretty smoothly, except for the first 10 minutes where he wouldn’t talk to us in an attempt to clearly express his displeasure having been made to wear his coat. After lunch we head home. I had the genius (I’ll use that term loosely) idea to go to the playground. A little energy burn and some cold fresh air would do us all some good.

Off we go riding bikes, dodging some scary looking dogs, looking both ways to cross streets and wiping the wind-induced snot from noses. Finally we arrive! YAY! Let the chasing, swinging, and getting out the sillies commence! And it did. For about 15 minutes. Then they decide to do the seesaw.

After I get Hannah on, Jacob on and pulling them up and down, Jake somehow manages to bounce off and bust his lip. Blood is gushing everywhere, snot flying, tears flowing…okay – I give up. It’s time to go home. Only, Hannah couldn’t give a rip if Jake is hurt or not – she wants to PLAY. And loudly. Jake is in the lead with his bike, riding slowly. I’m walking behind him and Hannah (bringing up the rear of this hot mess of a parade) is simultaneously throwing a fit, pedaling a trike, and screaming, “I WANNA PLAAAAAAYYYYYY at the PLAYYYYPARRRRRK!”

All. The. Way. To. Our. House.

What a way to make friends in our new neighborhood, right? At one point, we are at a busy corner, Jake is (thankfully) waiting patiently while I pry Hannah off of the road where she is now laying down kicking and screaming. And a car is coming. Awesome. Luckily the car does see the situation and doesn’t impale my daughter. I get Hannah’s attention and pick her up to cross the street, set her down and she promptly resumes said fit. I walk on.

Now she has worn her little self out and is sleeping peacefully and Jake and I are watching his current favorite Mighty Machines! I see a glass of wine in my future and a prayer that my sweet, funny little girl will wake up and be her normal self in a short while.

Or maybe she’ll down for the night.

A mother can hope, right?

Nope…she’s up. Time to re-fasten my cape….

Supergirl
Supergirl (Photo credit: levork)

Recalibrating

Since June, it’s been a bit bumpy and lumpy around our house. We’ve (I) have been a bit lopsided. This is due to many things, including the following:

*Deployment (duh!) The kids have good days and bad days but 5 months into this – the novelty for all of us has definitely expired!

*Fall/Winter: the “idea” of seasons is great. It brings up feelings of nostalgia and the holidays. Picturesque ideals of the family sipping cocoa around a fireplace after raking the leaves come to my mind. The reality – not so much. I hate the cold. (And since losing weight, I’m cold ALL THE TIME!) I really dislike the “dark at 4:30pm” thing, too. Between living in Pensacola and Hawaii, living in a colder climate has lost all appeal to me. Ive become a weather weinee! All I want to do is sleep and eat casseroles. I don’t. But I want to.

*The kids adjusting: between Jake starting preschool, doctors appointments, dentist appointments, fitting in a race here and there, keeping up with bootcamp workouts, family and friends, etc., it feels like a lot much of the time.

A few weeks ago, I decided to take a step back and recalibrate. 6 days a week of “something to do” is just too much for my kidlets. It would work for me, if it was just me. Staying busy helps during a deployment. But they are tired. It’s time for us to take a pause.

Breathe.

Be.

I started doing my workouts in the evening when the kids are in bed. Some days it’s difficult to walk back down those stairs and get to work when it would be so much easier to just go crawl in bed. But I have yet to regret a workout!

I also got a “blue light”. (Not the KMart variety.) It’s made by Phillips and helps with vitamin D production and the effects of SAD or the “winter blues”. Everyone I’ve talked to raved about how well they work. I have to agree. Although I would much rather experience the real thing, my little blue light does help!

I’ve taken a break from the routine. Just because its on the calendar doesn’t mean we HAVE to do it. Sometimes I struggle with this, as if I have to entertain the kidlets all the time. I think there is this “hurry hurry – go go go” feeling lately (and always during the holidays) between “workout!” “Get fit!” “Eat this!” “Don’t eat that!” “Make this Pinterest craft!!” “Post that to Facebook!” “Be The best parent by next Tuesday!!!!” “Save the Earth in 543 easy steps!” “Do 78 things simultaneously all while cooking dinner, looking fabulous, and have that smile on your face!”

It exhausts me.

I get caught up in “I should be doing this… or that” instead of just focusing on what I’m doing right here. Right now. In this moment.

Recalibrating. Focusing on what really matters, being in a thankful, quiet, sort of mindset with a minimal amount of “busy” is very appealing, particularly at this time of the year.

What do you do to recalibrate or reset life?

Even on the yucky days…

Even on the yucky, crappy, wish-the ground-would-swallow-me-up, go-back-to-bed-days, I aspire to still, in the midst of circumstance, be grateful.

Even on the yucky days, when I am at my worst, I want to be able to take a step back just for a moment, and remember the bigger picture, and be grateful. This is so hard for me when it’s been one of THOSE kind of days.

Things like the fact that I love my kids more than the spilled cereal. (Or milk, or water, or whatever). The cereal will get cleaned up – but it’s much harder to take back harsh words spoken out of irritation.

Reminders from my son that he really doesn’t care about that pile of dishes in the sink, he really just wants to read The Very Busy Spider a few more times. He WANTS to be with me. Not only will that go away all too soon, but how amazing is it that he wants to be with me even on the days that even I don’t like me!? Talk about a lesson in unconditional love! I love that boy, especially on the yucky days! And I’m so very thankful for the time he wants to spend with me.

Even on the yucky days, when I’m overwhelmed and just want the hubbs home – it all seems too hard – I remember that I AM DOING IT. I am making it through this deployment, even if its bumpy here and there. I have to be thankful that my husband has a career that he is well suited to, he serves his country, and our family. No, it’s not fun having to go through separations, but his work allows me to do mine. For that I am (and will always be) grateful.

Even on the yucky days when I daydream about what it would be like to go back to life without kids – for just 24 hours – just to sleep. Where is that DeLorean and Michael J. Fox when you need ’em!? I am brought out of my daydream by little feet and little voices, “Mama?”

Nah, I wouldn’t go back. Even on the yucky days.

Because even in the yucky days – there are some pretty awesome moments.

Day.

We woke up (yes “we”- they migrated during the night) this morning to a phone call from Eric. That is always nice, but it happened to be a rare occasion where Hannah was still sacked at 6:30 and Jake might have been cajoled into playing quietly in his room for 15-20 minutes. The phone rang and we were up!

After chatting with Daddy, getting breakfast, spilling milk, spilling Kix, taking someone else’s Kix, having a time out, deciding on a cut up apple instead – no wait, make that pancakes…we make it into the living room to “play” for a bit while I attempt to fold the 37 loads of laundry that have piled up that stubbornly refuse to fold themselves!

I say attempt to fold for a reason. Hannah loves to “help” with the laundry. It is pretty funny to watch as she lays out a kitchen towel just so, making sure the corners are all straight, then she rolls them up real fast into a crumpled ball and piles it on the other folded towels. Then we get the excitement of the sheets. Basically she sits on the floor with a sheet on her head and I sing a rousing rendition of “Where is Hannah!? Where is Hannah!? I don’t know… I don’t know”. And of course not to be out done by little sister, Jacob abandons whatever he is doing to take the sheet off of Hannah and put it on himself, much to her dismay. Now we are breaking up kid quarrel #2, 30 minutes into our day.

Sigh.

Clothes eventually got folded, workout was worked out, more kid quarrels ensued. I take a shower and get dressed-only to find Hannah needs a DESPERATE diaper change and thank goodness I didn’t take the time to shave my legs or she would have had it EVERYWHERE. Pooptastrophy averted.

We pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at the playground before preschool. I use the term “enjoy” loosely. Both minions sat at the counter while I made their lunches.

Me: “Hannah, do you want peanut butter and jelly?”
Hannah: Nodding, “Yes!”
Me: “Jacob, just peanut butter, no jelly, right?”
Jacob: “right!”

Okay… So sandwiches made, string cheeses, cantaloupe, cucumber slices from our garden, homemade ranch dip in the cute little containers, some pretzels and off to the park we go. We open our lunch boxes to eat after playing for a bit.

Jake: Whining and picking at the sandwich “I don’t like peanut butter!”

I felt like cracking my skull on a brick wall.  Long story long, he ate 4 big bites, and ate the rest of his lunch so I’m gonna count that as a win.

Drop him off at preschool and off Hannah and I go to the grocery to grab just a couple of quick items and then head home.  Hannah is crying that she wants to go the playland (the genius play area at the grocery store where they watch your kids for an hour while you shop!) Okay, I think – she gets to play, I’ll pick up the 3 things we need and we’ll be on our way.

Not so much. As soon as I lifted her out of the cart she cried that she didn’t want to go. No biggie. Back in the cart, we’ll do the shopping together. She THEN cries THROUGH THE ENTIRE STORE that she wants to go back to playland.

Again the desire to crack my head on a hard surface arises.

We finally make it home, I get her now hiccuping, crying self laid down for a nap, and I have to wake her up 30 minutes later to pick Jake up from preschool.  When I put her in the car, she wakes up and without missing a beat, starts crying yet again for the grocery playland.

More cracking of head thoughts.

Upon arrival to pick him up, Jake is happily playing trains. I ask him if he is ready to go after chatting with the teachers a bit. One of the teachers gets down next to him and says “Are you ready to go Alligator?”

He responds by blowing bubbles at her and states loudly “don’t call me that!”

Can I just die now? I really don’t know when I’ve ever been more proud. Then after collecting all his art projects from the day that have all of a sudden been scattered on the floor, he heads for the door around the corner. I have Hannah on my hip, still wigging out about the grocery store, picking up papers all over, while simultaneously attempting to respond to someone’s question. Papers now collected, I round the corner to see Jake in full melt down mode, being held away from the door by the preschool director.

I instantly feel sorry for her. I get down and attempt (unsuccessfully) to get him out of his tantrum, not to mention the middle of the door way. Other parents are trying to get through. Can you say hot mess? With Hannah still on one hip, I bend down and hoist Jake on my other. (Have I mentioned I grow HUGE KIDS? Good thing I work out!)

By the time we make it to the car, all three of us are in tears.

It is now 8pm. The kids are bathed, tucked in bed and sleeping soundly. My house (completely destroyed this morning) is now back in order and I am having a beer and toasting (aka, fervently praying) that tomorrow will be better than today.

Cheers!

It’s a Wonderful Life

Wow. What a day. I’ll apologize up front if I am a bit incoherent! These kinds of days I never seem to have trouble falling asleep – I literally collapse into bed.  And why I seem to save it all for one day is beyond me. You’d think I would be better at spreading out activities over the days – but lately it has been feast or famine!
Had a fantastic workout this morning – the best in a quite a while. We were sweaty hot messes and it was awesome! Definitely gonna feel that tomorrow! After lunch and playtime with the cousins, we rested a bit (although not long enough for Hannah as she was in rare form!) Then had a snack before running some errands.
Normally I’m not a big fan of having chips in the house, and if we do, it’s tortilla chips. (Mostly because I “can’t eat just one!” If it’s not in the house – I don’t eat it. But Jacob wanted “daddy chips”. They are the the chips Eric eats. How do you say no to that? I didn’t. He ate them and was comforted.
And then Hannah and Jacob fought over the bag:
After the chip bag holding crisis of 2012 was overcome – we hit the road with 3 stops. We were headed to the craft store, the bike store (Jake’s bike is broken) and then the party supply store to prepare for both upcoming birthdays. Why I think with little to no nap that the three of us would make it to all three stops is beyond me.
After we got our goods from the party store, we headed to Michaels. I cannot escape this place with just what I need. They always have other “goodies” and ideas for projects I just can’t seem to turn down. I had a project in mind – and it turned into 4 different projects for 3 of us. But more on that later. So then we hit the bike store for 1 bolt and 1 washer. They don’t sell the kind we need. Of course they don’t. Why would it be that easy to stop at one place? So pile the kids back into the car and down to Home Depot we go where they”should have that bolt.”
After we found a human to help us in that cavernous store, and that human looked in 4 different places 37 times all while I was trying to keep the minions in the cart and not grabbing the loose bolts and washers out of the tiny little drawers, he offers me a bolt that he “assures me” will work.  But more on that in a bit.
So by this time – we are all hot messes, too many stops and Jacob just wants to get home to his project.
So here’s the project run down:
I was making this:
It’s a “feeling thermomether’. Green is “happy good feelings” and the red is “Mad uncomfortable feelings” It’s a tool that we were given at our counseling session for Jacob to be able to articulate how he’s feeling. (We go to Focus – a group on base that trains military families resiliency tools for deployments/family separations and reintegrations. They are FANTASTIC!) I picked up the poster board, markers and sticky-back velcro for the “feeling foxes” that have different emotions and where they fall on the thermometer. We are still getting the hang of it, but not too shabby, if I do say so myself! I managed to even color inside the lines!
Before I set up the kids with their projects and aprons, I attempted to re attach Jacob’s bike wheel so he can ride it. Out come our shiny new bolt and washer and….
it doesn’t fit.
Shocking. So after all the trips and the fiasco at Home Depot trying to find the right one, it’s wrong. And did I mention that in the process of trying to fix Jacob’s bike, one of the drawers on Eric’s tool box is locked open and I can’t even close the thing? It’s completely jammed. Really? Ugh. So I left it there to do art.
I set Hannah up outside with some finger paints and she created this masterpiece:
Jacob found a “treasure chest” at Michael’s and wanted to paint it black. He tells me that “black” is the color that “puts him in the green and makes him feel happy”. Can’t complain when he’s using the tools we are teaching him! Ha! He also found a bag of big beads to make necklaces and bracelets. So we get those, but after being told not to put them into his mouth to spit them into his chest (they are small enough he could still choke) and he did it again – the beads went “night-night”.  And let me tell you how much I LOVED digging the dang things out of the grass – as he had one by one slid them all down the slide!
So he painted black on his chest – here it is all black and drying atop the grill outside.

Somehow during all the painting projects – I decided I needed a little color too!

 

 I still haven’t figured out how the heck I got it on my leg.

 

Jake played a bit while I cleaned Hannah’s now poopy diaper. Then he looks at me and says he needs to be changed too. Fantastic.
So between the paint, the dirty drawers, and the backyard being a painted disaster – off to the bathtub we go. Then it dawns on me, that I NEED to mow the lawn or by the time we get back from our upcoming mini vacation – it’s going to be a forest back there and I won’t have time to do it.
So then I drug out the lawn mower while the kids played/fought with each other.
So after the 3rd time of warning Hannah that hitting is “not ok”. She was going to bed. Awesome. Fighting sleep for an hour due to being over tired and Mama trying to cram too much into one day. I got paid back by an hour and half bedtime routine.
Whew. Days like today make me want to be a slug the next! But my lawn did get mowed!
Here’s to a less busy tomorrow!