Monday, December 14, 2009

The Ickert Good Ole fashion Christmas Tree.

It's been a tradition since I began dating Chris. A visit to the Penland Christmas Tree farm in York SC. A place where you get to cut down your own tree and bring it home. A place where one can experience the true joy of this wonderful tradition. Each year they add a few more touches to make it truly special, especially for the kids. I love this day, and as always it came with plenty of fun and entertainment.

First things, a stop at the Snowman so we can see how big the boys have gotten. Just like last year I had to beg plead and bribe the boys to stand still and smile. Such work so early on in our visit, but I got the picture. What do you think??



For the second year in a row, my Mom and Dad came with us.

Ryan wants to show Mom the perfect tree.

Dad - "You mean we have to cut them down ourselves?"


We pay a visit to the "Gourd Head" family. Cute.... A Little creepy but still cute.

And it's not truly Christmas until Dad makes a joke about the largest tree in the world being the one he wants to cut down.

Slim pickings this year, so Dad makes Mom stand next to a "potential" while he scopes out another one a few feet away. Isn't she a good sport?

No significant meaning to this one. It is just what happens when one trips over a tree stump while still holding the camera.

I caught Ryan checking out this picture, reminding me what the season is really all about.

Finally we find the one we like and Chris begins the cut down while anxious boys look on.

Last stop, this giant mountain of mulch the owners of the farm created for the kids to play and climb on. Who knew a pile of wood chips could be so much fun. Of course that is until both boys start moaning about mulch in their shoes...and their socks...and in Ryan's case his ears (don't ask.)

Tree is loaded and in the car. Wahoo!


Finally home Chris begins the tedious task (also know as Daddy "curse fest") of stringing the lights. I stay out of the way and take more pictures, I learned from years prior never to get involved in this process. Although this year Chris is in better spirits. He purchased the new LED lights this year which will save on the power bill. I mean how happy jolly is that? Cursing was still involved, but more so at me to put the camera down. He really has come a long way... I am very proud of him.

Brief pause for popcorn break.

The boys are getting old enough to help now. The first one I let them hang are the ones they got when they were babies. Hard to beleive how big they are getting.

Bruno and Josie are totally and completely unimpressed that the tree now takes up half of thier sleeping area.

It is coming together....

The tree has been up for a week now and I have to admit (like do every year) that this one might be our best one yet. It’s not as tall we usually get (we are blessed with really high ceilings) but she is tall enough, and with our angel there on her perch looking down upon us it in my book – perfect!

The boys are finally over stage of messing with the ornaments so I no longer have to stand guard although they seem to enjoy unhooking and re hooking the ornaments sometimes putting them back on the same branch and sometimes not. Only a few have fallen off with only one shattering.   So far so good I say.

She drinks a ton of water so I have added her to my schedule along with the husband, kids and dogs to feed and water. I wasn’t really looking for another mouth to feed but in keeping with the spirit of the season, I am happy to oblige. It seems like almost every year we fall habit of forgetting to water the tree that by time Christmas rolls around no is allowed to breathe, sneeze or yawn anywhere near her for fear any air movement will reduce her to nothing but a pile of needles. So you see I am determined not to let happen this year.

I guess in sum I want to focus on how much I love the symbol of the Christmas Tree. Ever since I was a little girl I have always loved when it was time to get our family tree. It was something my Dad took charge of and he, along with my sister and I, would venture out on a Saturday afternoon to pick out a tree and bring home to decorate all day long. It one of my favorites memories growing up. My decorating style fit my personality at the time, I had neither rhyme nor reason and hung the ornaments were I felt they belonged. My twin sister, ever the logical and practical thinker had a flow chart and hanging system where none of the ornaments should be touching nor were similar colors allowed within 12 inches of each other. Sometimes this would set off a bickering feud, and sometimes we would fall down laughing as Dad looked on trying to regain order. Again it’s one of my favorite memories and I love every second of this tradition.

Now that I have my own family I am realizing that if it’s possible, I think I love it even more. I love how it looks in the corner all lit up, full, and cozy. I love how when I walk in the room I can smell the pine needles, and most of all I love how in a few weeks we will witness the magic of two little boys tearing through red and green paper with smiles on their faces as big as the tree itself. At this very moment she is keeping my company as I type this early in the morning and I know I never ever want to take her down. I refuse to think about that now. For now I am just going to soak her in and relish in everything she means to me.

I hope you all are having a wonderful and joyous holiday filled with your own memories, old and new that helps glue this magical season together.

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hair Hindsight

Most of my posts so far have been about my life as a mom and how most of the time I am just along for the ride, enjoying the moment, trying not to screw things up.... and somehow inevitably screwing things up.

And This post is no exception.

I didn't set out to write a post about my hair.... How vain one might think? But I decided to write about this after receiving many comments on my facebook page about my attempt to high light my own hair. You see I am a writer and through out my whole life I have mentally documented moments that I think one day would make a good story. Of course most of these moments are at my expense but oddly enough it's how I prefer them to be. It's my litte reminder not to take life so seriously.
Okay so now on to my latest...

It began with my attempt to save money. As you all know I stay at home with the boys and my 8 week visit to the salon came to a screeching halt the moment I stopped working. I was okay with this since I always felt funny spending so much money on my head. I really did enjoy being blonde for awhile, but found myself anxious to get back to my natural color which is a lovely shade of light.....boring.... (commonly referred to as "mousy") shade of brown.

Well, that was almsot four and a half years ago. It was early October now and after a rock solid summer with the kids in which we were outside A LOT, my hair decided to respond with natural blonde highlights. Oh how I had missed these. However, the only problem with natural is they disappear as soon as you stop being in the sun. So by the last week of September the highlights were fading into a not so subtle reddish yellow. This on top of my already lovely mousy) brown was not the ideal partnership. Oh sure If I was Jennifer Aniston or Eva Longora whats her name then yeah I could pull it off. But no, not this Mama. And with a bonus vacation to Florida in a few days I needed to do something pretty quick. I longed for the blonde again and was sure I could go about it the smart economical way and get it from a box....
For a moment, let me pause here for a minor side note. Webster's definition of hindsight is as follows:
recognition of the realities, possibilities, or requirements of a situation, event, decision etc., after its occurrence.

Just a side note, okay back to the story.

My first move began with a trim and shape up at Great Clips, the home of the $12.00 dollar hair cut. I actually like them there. I have been going to the same girl now and we are friendly. Sure I miss the long shampoos, conditioning treatments and complimentary water with cucumbers, but I am not a complainer. This is all part of the stay at home ride. Making smart decisions.. Yay me!! So confident was I that I almost skipped to my next destination.

Yes girls, you guessed it: Target!

There I stood, a long row of boxes that stretched out before me with just about any and all hair color, touch up or highlight kits you could imagine. Everything from the blackest black to the blondest blonde. The marketing companies using clever wording such as "Brass Free" "Nourishing Conditioning" and "Silky Smooth." I picked up each box and read studied and contemplated which would be the best one. I didn't really learn a whole lot except all the models on the box must use teeth whitener and just about all hair companies now a days no longer test products on animals.

I decided however to try and stay along the same lines of highlights, So in the end I skipped the "all over" hair coloring (a.k.a idiot proof) and went to the "At Home Highlights" (definitely not idiot proof). But the pearly white smile gazing back at me almost screamed at me "You can do this." And who am I to argue with that kind of logic?

Once I got home I carried my prize possession into the bathroom and waited until I could put the kids in their room for some quiet time. Excitedly I opened the box and found six things. Instructions with a pair of cheap latex gloves glued to them. Two bottles of hair color mixture. A mascara wand, a small paint brush and finally the "nourishing" conditioner. I laid everything out on the bathroom counter and took it all in. I kept going back to the picture on the box. The girl was very pretty and of course had perfect high lights. I began to feel a little overwhelmed but again I was determined.

So I began with a quick read of the instructions... These were highlights you see, so the application had to be "careful" and "precise". I stared at the mascara wand that I was supposed to use to "sweep" the highlights through my hair....I looked back at the picture on the box..

What's that hindsight?? You say something?? I can't hear you...

Next came mixing up the coloring stuff. This was actually pretty cool. The end result was pale blue goo with the consistecny of cake frosting. Next came the application. Mascara wand for fine hair. Paint brush or think or curly hair. I have neither but decided to start with the mascara wand. Without babbling too much further I will say this. Next time you all make a cake and have frosting, stick a mascara wand in it and attempt to spread "evenly" and "freely" on a paper towel... Give that a try and you will get to experience my next 20 minutes.

No matter though I was still determined (and somewhat frightened) at this point to try and finish what I had started. I moved on to the paint brush tool and attempted to draw out long streaks that framed my face. I actually thought for awhile that I was able to even out the clumps. But I eventually gave up. It was around or about this time I realized I had forgotten to keep tarck of the time. How long had it been already.. Crap, I didn't know. It was also around or about this time I began to realize that this was probably a mistake. Enlisting the help of a friend at this point was mute since I didn't want to admit my own misjudgement and the boys who were bored with quiet time had migrated back downstairs and resumed their curious little position's on either side of me asking, quizzing, staring and eventually walking away. I think even at this young age boys just know if you don't have anything nice to say about a woman's hair don't say it at all.

Next came a nice fat little reality check. I could see a weird color starting to form under all the cake frosting that was starting to harden and resemble toothpaste. The color popping through was not quite blonde not quite red...Something... So I panicked and got in the shower quickly. It was time to free myself of curiosity (okay fear) and hope for the best.

The best did not happen.

I could see immediately my hack job of applying these things. And after I dried my hair it didn't get any better. In a nutshell I had splotches of bleached out hair. Not just a few splotches but major major splotches. Some splotches were lighter than the other splotches. With the exception of one strand, I didn't have anything close to what the box looked like. I indeed had a head of hair that looked like a checker board.
See photos for further explanation. Feel free to point laugh and make fun of... It's okay, I would.

But at that moment I needed a miracle and one fast. I had 24 hours before we left for Florida. I didn't have any time to go to a salon and that would defeat the whole purpose in the first place. So I had to do what I never thought I would do. I grabbed the box, looked on the side and saw the dreaded 1-800 hair help line. I always heard about these numbers and had quickly formed judgements in my head as to who and what kind of people were calling them. Stay at home Moms with nothing better to do... Okay, so that would be me (minus the nothing better to do part). But me all the same. Yup, new low for sure... Or at least I thought so, until I called and got Betty on the other line. Then I officially reached a new low.

The call began like anything else. A pre-recorded message that said "press one for minor screw ups, press two for major screw ups, press three for the wig department, or press four for the witness protection program"
I debated and decided to press 2 and got Betty. Betty struck me as the grandmotherly type. I could tell she was older and I pictured a sweet little lady sitting on the other end glasses on and a crossword puzzle at her desk. She had a warm and sweet voice that didn't last as long as I would like. I laid out my story to Betty... Uneven highlights, bleached out sections. No consistency. No time or money for a salon visit. Help help help.

Betty listened patiently with a few "uh huhs and ahh has.." When I was done I excepted this grandmother to soothe me with sweet kind words and would offer to bake me cookies. However, Betty took different approach.

"Well, let's see" she began." "It sounds like you have two different colors on your head."
"Yes, that is correct" I replied.
"Can you describe the colors for me, are they the color of the inside of a banana or the outside of a banana."
Brief pause.
"Uhhhh, well, one is bright blonde so I guess that would be the outside of the banana, the other is more muted blonde and then well... there are the roots that I missed..."
I was interrupted by a sigh and then Betty's disappointing voice filled my ear.
"So you actually have 3 colors on your head?"
My shoulders dropped. I had disappointed Betty... Oh God was this going to get any better."
"Yes, I answered quietly "I guess I do."
"Oh dear.." was all she could muster.
Another brief pause and a quick reality check that I just described my hair using a banana reference.
Insert lowest of low here.
But Betty brought me back.
"Well," she began "I am afraid there isn't much I can do to help dear. You see,with 3different colors, two of them representing both the inside and outside of a banana you would have to apply more than one color application and here at Clairol we just can not recommend that to our clients.
"Uh huh.." Was all I could muster.
"My only suggestion is for you to find a salon..."
"But I don't have time BETTY..." I wanted to scream but did not. Instead I sadly accepted my defeat and hung up.
My next move, I believe, I handled with as much maturity and grace as possible. And that would be the act of crying hysterically into a pillow, followed by a lot of cursing. I should have known to just go and have it done professionally. Oh how that would have saved me from all of this. But I was trying to be smart I was trying to save money. Yet, the inevitable presented itself in front of me I knew I would have to do something...Anything... which of course would require more money.

Oh shutup hindsight...

In sum I would like to say thank God for Mothers. Not myself, but my own. My Mom stopped by and after assessing my head did her classic head tilted, sympathetic smile and proceeded on to the famous "It's not that bad" speech. She then handed me a $10.00 bill, offered to stay with the kids while I went back to Target in search of a miracle. I threw on a baseball hat and was heading out the door when I got accosted by the 4 year old.
"Where are you going Mommy?" Evan asked
"Mommy has to run to the store baby. You stay here with GrandMommy okay."
"Why are you wearing Daddy's hat?"
"Umm, well I am having a bad hair day"
"Is it scary?"
Oh God if only he knew...
But I had to stop and appreciate his wisdom. Yeah, it was scary. I pretty much wasted a whole day obsessing about my HAIR... If I wasn't spooked already I should be.
I scooped Evan up in a big bear hug and inhaled his little innocent 4 year old scent.
I wanted to be him at that exact moment, no cares in the world, no vanity to worry or think about. His little arms wrapped around me brought me back to my role as Mommy.
And in hindsight, blonde or no blonde, motherhood is the only shade of life I want to wear.
And somewhere far far away I have a feeling even Betty would understand that.

End Result:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Well, it found us...

I don't know why I thought we were immune.. I guess since all the media hype dating back to the spring about the swine flu a part of me somehow stayed in denial... We stayed flu free the year before... The year before that was a different story (and the year before that) But going a year free somehow empowered me into a certain way of thinking I like to call "Mommy logic." Logic better known as: "This won't happen to me."

I was proved wrong early on a Monday morning of all things. 2:00 A.M. to be exact. A cry over the monitor made me sit up and untangle my legs from the covers as I made my way through the dark and up the stairs towards the sound of pitifulness. It sounded like Evan over the monitor, but indeed it was Ryan. He was there in the middle of his bed sitting up and reaching out for me as I walked towards him. "Uh oh" was all I could think as I scanned the bed for any sign of a upset stomach since the last time I was woken up by a cry like this he had a stomach virus. But there was no evidence of anything like that and when I reached out to pick him up his body temperature told me I we were in for it. He wasn't just hot but furnace hot. His whole body was on fire. I couldn't get the motrin in him fast enough. On top of that he was coughing and it was right then and there in the middle of his dim lit room, that I knew... This wasn't a cold. I didn't know what else to do but scoop him up and carry him into the guest room where we laid down together and I kept my hand on him the rest of the night as I feared his fever would get worse. Thankfully Motrin did it's job and he settled back down into a restful sleep. I couldn't leave him though and stayed with him until light began to form outside the window. Right about that time I could hear Evan beginning to cough from his room. It didn't surprise me. I was almost waiting for it actually. Running on adrenaline only I made my way into his room and put my hand over his forehead. He was still sleeping but also hot to the touch. Thus the flu had found us. Despite all the hand washing we had done, all the wipe downs of grocery store carts, staying away from indoor play areas...It found us regardless.
And there was nothing I could do about it.

I made doctor appointments as soon as I could. I was grateful to get one on the same day . That little voice returned (or rather my famous Mommy logic) the back of my head said maybe just maybe I was over reacting and this was just a bad bad cold. I had heard stuff had been going around. In fact pretty much since September one, if not all of us have had minor colds off and on. It's to be expected and just all a part of owning 3 and 4 year old walking germ magnets. But as I loaded the boys up on the car and heard Ryan say something about his back hurting another little alarm went off in my head. His back hurts?? He has never said anything about his back before..... It could still be something else it could still be... Maybe it wasn't.....

I was running all kinds of scenarios through my head as we checked into the doctors office and found our way to the "sick" waiting area. We were the only ones there and asked to have the boys wear little paper masks over the faces. Evan thought this was cool and pretended to be a super hero. Ryan, ever the complicated (yet adorable) one tolerated it for about 2 minutes before he decided to let the entire 2nd floor know he couldn't breathe with it on. It was no biggie though because right about the time I was demonstrating cool ways to play super hero and wear the mask, we were called back. The nurse who also wore a mask ushered us in to one of the small rooms and began to quiz me on their symptoms. I gave her a quick recap of the past 12 hours and appreciated her sympathetic head nods and "oh, poor little guys" comments. She took temperatures made a comment about their sad little eyes and disappeared promising the doctor would be in soon. We stayed busy playing with the swivel chairs, window blinds and hand made balloons compliments of the box of latex gloves on the counter. The doctor came in about 15 minutes later also adorned with a mask. He was nice as always and did a thorough check of each boy. Thankfully lungs sounded clear but in house tests proved that it was the flu. The capital "F" word flu. It was official now and so began a new phase where I move away from the Mommy Logic and into "Mommy Guilt"

I hate this phase...Because here comes the famous question: Why oh why had I not yet gotten them their flu shots...
It's not that I didn't try.. Twice actually. Once the doctor's didn't have any in yet and the second time they were out too lunch. Okay so that was minimal effort. But Mommy logic is a powerful tool... "I will get them their shots next time..."

But could I have prevented this? Was there a shopping trip where I failed to wipe down a cart? Are they sick because of me? We were at a Halloween party the day before symptoms had kicked in, are other kids going to be sick now?? What had I done? What kind of mother am I?

"Mrs Ickert" are you okay? I hear the doctor ask.
"No" I want to say. But a quick glimpse at the boys and their definite sad "don't feel good" little eyes reminded me that this wasn't about me. I had my information now, it was the flu and most likely h1n1 according to the doctor. So I needed to remain focused. I had to stop the self punishing and get them well, everything else would fall into place.

We left with a bunch of paper work on the swine flu and a personal escort at out the back door in case there were "little ones" in the waiting room the doctor explained. Even though it felt weird to be on a covert operation out the secret door of the doctors office, I certainly understood.

So we went home. The boys who for some reason had perked up a bit seemed hungry and ate a little lunch. We ate peanut butter and jelly and talked about being sick.
"I am so sorry you guys don't feel good" was all I could say.
"But I promise I will do everything I can to make you feel better."
"With your special Mommy powers?" Evan wanted to know. I kissed him on his head, which was stating to heat up again.
"Yeah baby, my special Mommy powers."
If only there were such a thing.

Turns out that special Mommy powers really don't involve much more than patience, love and again a lot of Motrin. I wish I could say that I handled the next 72 hours with extreme grace, tolerance and sugar and spice. Quite the opposite actually. We were housebound and cranky. The first day it rained so even a walk around the block was out of the question. The second day it was blue skies but too wet and chilly to be outside. I kept my sanity by taking them to McDonald's utilizing the drive through. We drove the long way to and from just to be out of the house for a bit. There fevers were like clock work. High until the Motrin kicked in and the low until it wore off. The coughing was the worst. Hard, loud congested coughing that attacked them even in their deepest of sleep. I tried everything from children's mucinex, dark honey, cool mist humidifier and Vick's Vapor rub. Maybe one of those helped... I am still not sure.

Day 3 was the worst. I was tired form not sleeping well. Ryan who kept waking up at 2:00 a.m. and insisting I sleep with him, is not the most peaceful of sleepers. On top of the coughing I was kicked, poked, felt up, and even "goosed" by this fitful little boy. He is a hard sleeper, thank goodness but a very, very busy sleeper. Needless to say I didn't get much rest but wouldn't have done anything differently. He wanted me there, that was all that mattered. Evan a year older was okay in his room by himself. He was about a day behind Ryan in his symptoms and even though he was just as clingy with me he seemed to really need his space in his room where he too slept hard. We did manage to venture out for a walk but becuase the boys were still run down and cranky we didn't get very far. Evan just wanted to collect leaves and Ryan just wanted to hold his hand. This made for a lot of crying whinning and silent curse words from Mommy. We turned around and came home; a place I was begining to dread.

We watched movies, movies and more movies. I can now recite every line to Monsters vs-Ailens (great movie though). I also have developed an intense dislike for that Moose a Moose punk on the Nick Jr channel. He can take his "I feel like I'm fallin into fall" song and shove it up his butt.

My husband as always was wonderful. On top of this being a flu week he had an intense and stressful week at work. He came home with the same look on his face that I had on mine. You know the look of "Oh dear God when are we going to win the lottery and live on a desert island" look. But as usual we maned together and did our best to power trough. Over all the flu lasted about 3 days of bad symptoms and then 2 days of recovery symptoms which sucks just as bad. Their energy level is back up but they are still coughing sneezing and running noses so I am not far behind them with the Clorox wipes, disinfect spray, tissues and Valium... (just kidding).

So our experience has come and gone and I am oddly grateful that this found us early. I say goodbye to "Mommy Guilt" and welcome "Mommy Denial" Surely this will be our only illness this year. Now their little immune systems are stronger so of course this won't happen to us again.... and it's right about here I get slapped in the face by the final and last phase of Mommy-ism's. Nothing and I mean nothing is ever what it seems. You would think after 4 1/2 years I would know this. You would think I would learn from having a week erased out of our lives that I would have some profound wisdom to spread to other mothers. Nope, not really. All I can say is hang on with both hands and remember, this too shall pass. Because in the end, they are better. Their smiles are back, their little personalities are intact. And this by far is the best phase of them all.

Feeling better Evan and Ryan Getting ready to go Trick or Treating!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Soccer Mom...and Dad.

First, let me clear the air... For most of my late teens and early adult life I judged the so called "Soccer Mom." I admit it... I did. The mini vans, the entourage of little heads I could always see through the back window. The sluggish way you all drove and the bumper stickers, or recently the magnet decals... Oh the magnet decals... Yes I judged, I am very guilty of the evil, evil judgment of you poor innocent Moms. And just like everything else I have learned since becoming a Mom, this one in particular has taught me that clearly, I know nothing. Not just a little nothing. But a whole lot of nothing. It's quiet refreshing actually knowing nothing humbles me in a way that I have grown quite used too... For a day without humbleness is a day wasted... Or some crap like that.

Anyways, I sincerely apologize to all the Moms I gave dirty looks too, cussed at and judged so wrongly. If you ever thought there would be a pay back day for me it is here. I officially became a soccer mom on August, 20th when we signed up Evan and Ryan for a soccer youth league. But I officially "officially" became a soccer Mom when I went to their first game.

I can sum up the experience in a few simple words and/or statements:
1) There is never and will never be enough film in the camera and getting the perfect shot is more stressful and challenging than watching one of the boys get a goal.
2) Both boys are without a doubt the most talented kids on the team. Sure, every Mom thinks the same thing about their kids but it's Evan and Ryan who are perfect. Well that is until Ryan gets his soccer cleats tangled in the net and Evan kicks a goal but into the other teams net. Doesn't matter though I got a great shot of both!!
3) The word "Hustle" is now a part of my every day vocabulary. I like this new word. It's cool, yes I am a dork!
4) And speaking of Dork, that is exactly how I DON'T feel when I jump up and down, scream, yell, praise and chant on the sidelines when either boys gets their feet on or near the ball. Well, okay I feel like a little bit of a dork, but it's goes with the whole Mom thing so nothing new to me.
5) All soccer shorts no matter how well they fit cause wedgies.

So there you have it, my official intro to this new world. But now it is here where I need to introduce the husband in this story. Yes, my husband Chris does get left out from time to time in my ventures with the boys. Mainly because to date just about any and all of my extra circular activities have been with me, myself and I. Kindermusick, Gymboree, art lessons, play dates, park dates, swim dates, oh the list is endless... But here, here the husband enters the picture because a) it's sports related b)other Dads are involved and c) It's sports related.

Since the boys have been babies Chris has been a hands on Dad. He has jumped in when I needed, he has provided for us so I can stay home with them and he never ever judges me when I go for that second glass of wine to help me unwind from a stressful day. But for the most part and has been me as the front runner when it involves activities with the kids that take place outside the house. So we enter new territory here. Daddy is the "go to" guy. Daddy teaches, Daddy shows and Daddy gets them a cool soccer net and super cool new soccer shoes. Daddy pumps them up when they fall during practice and Daddy knows exactly when and where to insert tough love. I for the first time in awhile find myself no long their expert. When another little boy (we will call him Satan Jr.) knocks over Evan or Ryan and the result is tears, I respond by running towards said crying child with arms wide open and my "Mommy is here" speech. However, new rules new coach, new tactic. Husband is in charge now so I let him respond (well actually I don't really have a choice since Chris has tied and gagged me to my lawn chair), But there he goes, making his way to the child and within minutes child is up, smiling, wiping grass off of his knee and is back in the game. Chris walks back with a cool and calm swagger and I find myself fascinated... How did he do that? How did he stay so calm....? Who is this person, and why is he all the sudden in charge? Further more why doesn't this bother me?

Because when all is said and done he is the right man for the job. Just like I am the right one for mine. I take care of boo boo's, bad dreams and a case of the sniffles. I cook, chaperon and chauffeur. I love them in a soul wrenching way, love form the inside out which means that just about anything and everything in my life revolves round them.
Until I realize that not everything has too.
It's actually really, really cool to realize this and to also realize that Daddy is every bit the soccer Mom that I am.
Because we may differ on our sideline techniques but we agree on one thing:
Satan Jr. must go down...soon....very soon...
And I will get a picture!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Explain Please!

For someone who loves to write, you would think I would be great with words. But looking back I have never really been good at formulating my thoughts out loud. I do better on a keyboard, where I can type, evaluate, delete and type again. I have the famous "do over" ability that one doesn't really get when they are speaking to a group or friend or in my case, the 4 year old.

I have often wished for the ability to go back and say what it was I really wanted to say. I truly do envy those who not only can speak articulately but also really get their point a cross. My sister is one of those. She has the natural born debate gene in her and she can always justify her thoughts and her opinions that not only make sense but also leave an impression. I on the other hand will bit my bottom lip, over think my response and most of the time spit out something like "That's true" or attempt to quote a sonnet (depending on the situation).

So now that my boys are getting older and they begin to discover their little worlds more, I find that we are entering a new phase. Their little active minds and imaginations are processing things faster...clearer and lately they have a comeback question or statement for just about everything. Now before, I could get away with a silly explanation, one that was one part made up and the other part done up in mommy words and tone that just made sense at the time. Now, it's a different ball game...

In Monday's case.. The infamous deflating helium balloon they both got from Sunday school the day before... I heard a quiet little voice whimper "Mommy the balloon won't fly anymore" my close to tears 4 year old says as the sad little balloon just barely hovered and bobbed along the floor looking like it was indeed on it's last leg.

Hmmmm... How to explain...
Do I introduce the concept of the chemical make up of helium or is now a good time to talk about when things die? Or should I just kneel over it, and blow on it, in hopes that it will at least rise up a little and satisfy him temporarily. In a nutshell I failed on all three and told the child we will get him a new one and to go grab a cookie from the kitchen.

A few weeks ago it was question about the Human Body.
"Mommy why do girls go pee pee sitting down?"
"Uhhhh....well...." How about a brownie?"
"But Mommy girls sit down to go pee pee."
"Yes sweetie, I know that's because God gave girls a "who who" and boys a "thingy"
"You mean a penis" he shoots back all confident (since when did he become Mr. know it all?)
"Um, yes honey, your penis. That's right. Now who is hungry for a brownie and ice cream?"

Needless to say he settled for both and the human body questions were tabled at least for awhile anyways. But when he brought it up again later in the day I did my best to explain to him why girls are made differently than boys. But hours later I worried did I make any sense? Did I leave any impression? Is he scared for life? Is he going to be the next Ted Bundy because he is uncertain about gender differences? Is he going to have a cavity because he had 12 cookies today?

I find myself saying weird things lately... Explaining things I am just not ready to explain...Most recently, trying to figure out how to talk my way out of a conversation with Ryan that began with him telling me he had a pickle in his underwear.

Where do they get it from?? My kids are 4 and 3... Now granted the 3 year old mainly just follows the 4 year old but what little inquisitive things they both are lately Everything is a question followed up by another and another and the famous "But why"



But I think what is really bothering me is a trend I am seeing within my self. I am a procrastinator. Not in a bad way, I just tend to put things off. For as long as I can remember if there was an awkward situation or a moment where I knew I was going to get in trouble I did the famous head in the sand move. My Mom, to this day, still gives me a hard time about how she had to threaten to take down all my Bon Jovi posters if I didn't clean up my room. I still hate to call people back who called me days ago because I am embarrassed that it has taken me so long to call back. I still have thank you notes to fill out from the boy’s birthday party 7 months ago. My gmail account currently has 2236messages 84 of them I have yet to read...

Do you see the trend??

It's probably good to write about this since hopefully I will learn I am not alone. I know that more questions will come from the boys,and probably more cookie offerings from mommy. But as I think about it, it's really not all that bad to be going through this phase with them. After all everything in their world right now is still perfect in their eyes. They have no idea yet the magnitude of anything really except that the Transformers dudes are cool, Bouncy houses are even cooler and this Mommy person caters too and takes care of just about every need or want.

So maybe, just maybe, any reply I have for them with their questions will be perfect to them and for their little worlds. Because when all is said and done, explaining anything to these growing boys means they still need me. Having them grow up and move just a little further away from me can be put off for a little while longer.

And that right there is perfectly fine with me!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Dear Folks,

Dear Customers and employees of the Chick-Fil-A,

I am not an idiot. I went to college and have a 4 year degree in Sociology. I know how to add 2+2. For all practical purposes, I am relatively qualified to handle my children (most of the time). However, It may not appear so after this afternoon's outing to Chick-Fil-A but wanted to clear up a few loose ends.

First the children you witnessed me dragging out of the restaurant sniffling and wailing are not the same children I gave birth to. No, these are loaners sent to me by the aliens who kidnapped my original precious little boys and replaced them with exact look alikes. I Hope for the original Evan and Ryan to return one day perhaps when they are older, or at least can tie their own shoes, which ever comes first. In the mean time I have to pretend they are mine and tote them around because they get bored, cranky and hungry awfully quick.

Hence our visit to Chick Fil-A yesterday. You may have seen us walk in. That was me who had the look of panic on her face when I realized the line was the size of the Mississippi river. That was also me who kept yelling things like "Stay with Mommy." "Put That Down" and "No you may not have a Brownie for lunch." A certain amount of stress is caused in this type of situation...So I am sure you can understand my emotional state at the time. Especially when the Mississippi River only moves 3/4 of an inch every few minutes. And yes those were my boys/loaners you saw at that point laying on the floor blowing kisses at the trash can. Why didn't I interfere you ask? Because they were happy and quiet and I was able to order! That's why.

I am sure you also saw us walking to our table, me screaming "No running" and the boys running regardless. At this point I would like to address the kind and friendly staff of Chick-Fil-A. The sweet little lady who helped me carry my tray and then offered each child a balloon did settle them down long enough for them to eat most of their lunch and for me to somewhat regain my composure.... It was a pleasant 5 minutes or so... Until the boys harassed me to go play in the glass enclosed Play area. Speaking of which, this is a great concept. No food or drink is allowed in the play area and I love the fact that the glass is relatively noise proof. There is always a line of Mommies in front of the glass watching their offspring play but enjoying the silence on the other side of the glass. Brilliant!!

Yet, this is where you probably last saw me before I turned into Mommyzilla. And it is here that I would also like to address that I don't care what your degree is in...I don't care how smart you are or how many years abroad you may have spent. Until you unleash your offspring into a glass enclosed play area with other children (or perhaps other loaners) and attempt to pull off "coolness" you are in my book just like me. Screwed!!

It began with little things as I am sure you noticed. Me standing up from time to time pointing at the glass (or sometimes feverishly knocking on it) mouthing "no hands" or "be nice." I admit my voice did go up on octave when I caught a glimpse of Ryan walking by the glass happily chewing on a mystery substance. Sorry for those of you I may have knocked down on my way to fling the glass door open and address the situation. So disgusted I was it was only natural for my words to come out backwards "RYAN, DOWN PUT OLD GROSS MOMMY GIVE TO AGAIN DON'T SICK!". Once again I am not an idiot... I just can't form sentences in high stress situations.

I want to thank those of you who were sitting inside the play area and witnessed me addressing the crying 3 year old as to why we don't eat things off of the floor no matter what it is. Your sympathetic looks and head nods were much appreciated but I could have used your mental strength on incident number 2. It really isn't my fault that the little shoe cubbies are well within children grabbing range. Okay so it is sort of my fault that I own a child who likes to collect, analyze and finally organize things in a color coding fashion (actually it's his fathers fault not mine but whatever...). However, Was it so wrong to do this up top in the floating car where only preschoolers aged kids can reach??? Again, I could have really used your support here but instead felt the annoyance of two of you who were ready to leave and couldn't find your children's shoes.... I understood - I did... Hence my tone and backwards talk once again, "EVAN,DOWN NOW SHOES SPANKING!" See...Totally not an idiot. Again thank you for those of you who were patient.

Incident number 3 of course you had my full blessing to stare judge, shake your head and some of you cackle (I heard you.). But look, no one wants their child to have a potty accident so I was only praising him when Ryan announced he had to go poop. Sure he announced to the whole restaurant and knocked over the fica tree in route to the bathroom chanting "Poop is coming.. poop is coming..." But it is my job as his mother to encourage good habits so me running after him clapping my hands and yelling "good job,
that's my boy." really wasn't so terrible was it?

You all have been there right???

Again I would like to address the staff of Chick-Fil-A. Your restrooms are very clean and tidy. However only two stalls??? Really??? This of course almost always ensures a potty neighbor. So who ever you were....Sorry... Surely you must have understood that an adult and two preschoolers shoved inside one small little stall is going to cause a lot of bumping, banging and the occasional "DON'T TOUCH" Shriek. I also want to apologize for the 4 year old who likes to narrate and discuss anything and everything... Describing Ryan's poop being in the shape of a "Christmas Tree" really is kind of funny but I also get pretty gross. You see, I become immune to these sort of things over time. I have no excuse, I am just a Mom who is grateful that the child made it to the bathroom in time.

So it was around or about that time I was ready to leave. You all were probably getting ready to let out a big collective sigh of relief. But noooo....we had to leave you with one final farewell incident didn't we.

At this point I would like to address the staff of Chick-Fil-A One last time and simply ask "What the F**K?" Why, WHY I ASK must you offer ice cream to the kids when you know full well this Mommy has had a enough and ready to leave. Ice cream before nap time equals more screwedness for Mommy who really needs the nap more than they do. So I apologize if my "No, not this time." came out like "IF YOU EVER MENTION ICE CREAM TO MY CHILDREN AGAIN I WILL HURT YOU!!"

"Butttt MOmmmmmyyyyyy......Pllleeaaassseeeee...." I am sure you heard while I griped with the notion that the children's shoes were still in the play area, probably up in the floating car and I had about 5 minutes before I was going to completely lose it. I mean while Sociology is the study of human behavior, it never once prepared me for one child grasping my leg for dear life begging for ice cream while the other child introduces himself to the lady standing near us and informs her that his brother just popped a Christmas tree.

So there you have it...your last vision of me dragging those little people out of the establishment sniffling and sobbing, and that was me babbling incoherently out loud to nobody. I truly do apologize to those of you whose lunch was interrupted by the hurricane of our visit. I truly do not plan for this sort of thing I just wing it and well, neither child left bleeding or bruised so all in all I considered it a relatively decent visit.

Except for the part where after buckling the kids into their seats did I realize that the children were still in their socked feet. Once again I would like to address the staff of Chick-Fil-A.... Thank you for not judging me as we walked back in and ordered the f**ing ice cream. The soft serve vanilla is really yummy. Move your damn shoe cubbies out of kiddo's reach. Or at least put a padlock on them.



Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Welcome....Now What

On a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon, my wonderful husband of 6 years took me by the hands, turned me to face him and looked me so tenderly in the eye that my senses began to stir... For a moment I was transported back to the early days of when looking each other in the eye meant a whole lot of......well....let's just say good things. It really wasn't that long ago when...
"MOMMY, Come quickly there is a monster in the closet. Come quick"
Oh Crap!
But before I could turn my head in the dutiful direction of the 4 year old, my husband, who now had a grasp of my shoulders, wiped one strand of messed up non- showered hair behind my ear and whispered "I got this, you go do something for yourself."

"What? Myself..."???

"Oh, ME... " I replied "That person. (giggle giggle..) "I forgot about her. Okay if you say so. I will do something for myself. Now if you cold just point me in the right direction I will go introduce myself to her and see what she feels like doing. "

"No seriously" he said patting me in the head and still not breaking our eye gaze (he is so romantic). "I have the kids for a few hours. Enjoy your free time."

(Insert blank stare here).

So this is where I find myself on said sunny Sunday afternoon. Kids loaded up in the car, husband saying he is taking them for pizza and to pick out some posters for their rooms. I watch them drive away and just as I begin to wave after them saying I will go with them, an image pops into my head. An image from earlier in the week of two bored, hot little fuss pots who are sometimes just flat out impossible to please. As that image enters my head and I watch the car drive off a feeling of peace comes over me. I am off duty for a little while. I can do anything I want (within reason). I can go read my book, I can go down to the pool, I can finish the laundry from 8 days ago still in the dryer, I can even (call me crazy) take a shower..... So much to do.... So much to think about.... I walk back inside and find the dogs staring at me.

"I don't know" I say to them. "The peace and quiet is new to me too."

I wander back to the bedroom and contemplate what I want to do with my time.

And then it hits me.

Write. I want to write. All these years, all this time, all those stories I have stuffed in a folder that have never amounted to anything... I want to write. I want to write new stories, revisit my old ones and maybe just maybe write the book I have been meaning to write since I knew how to form sentences.

So on that glorious Sunday afternoon, something good to come out of this after all. I had a moment or "clarity" if you will. I came upstairs and sat in front of this computer and just stared typing. I typed for for awhile and then took a break and then typed some more. Eventually the family returned and I had to resume my duties as Mommy. But writing wasn't far from my mind and I am finally starting to realize that it never really should have been. It takes all sorts of things in this life to try and figure out what your God given gift is and probably even longer to implement a plan to do it. But I am a firm believe in it's never to late.

So welcome to "Momsie." I hope you join as a follower and enjoy reading about this journey as much as I will enjoy telling you.
A good friend of mine recently told me that I should try and discover the beauty more. I have been thinking about that a lot lately because I think what he really meant was discovering my own beauty, my own gifts, my own thoughts. Because beauty or not, thoughts matter. All thoughts all words, all dreams, no matter who you are.
As for the name "Momsie" if in case you are wondering....It's a combination of "Mommy" and "Mosey." Those of you in my family have known me as "Mosey" for years... Those of you not I will just say that sometimes, 'random, have no purpose, mean absolutely nothing' nick names picked when you are 9 years old just stick. It just seemed fitting to combine them both since on most days I can't even seem to remember my real name anymore...... Ummm....
"Mary" - right...
That's the one....
Good Lord...
I am so happy you are here with me.



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