Mommy Gone Berserk (over a Cheezit)!

cheezitInstead of spending my typical, lazy Sunday afternoon taking a much deserved siesta, I let my 12-year old talk me into a cleaning frenzy (she wants to have a friend over next weekend – read ulterior motive). Me, being, me figured, OK at least I’d get some help with the drudgery and agreed to her plan. She’d start in the kitchen, I’d focus on the living room/dining room, and the little one got stuck with the bathrooms. She plugged in the iPod and the tunes blared through the house as we got down to work.

After about ten minutes, the youngest decided to “help” me instead of working on her designated room (can’t say I blame her there). One corner of our living room is called the “peace” corner. Originally the idea behind said “peace” corner was to give the girls a place to “chill” when they got overwhelmed and needed a “time out.”  Unfortunately, it quickly became the dumping place for all the stray toys that never made it back upstairs to their bedroom. We targeted that area first, sorting stuff into various piles: the Barbie pile, the American Girl Doll pile, the Polly Pockets/Littlest Pet Shops pile, the book pile, the hair stuff pile, the pens/pencils/markers pile, the stuffed animal pile and laundry/shoe pile. As you can tell a lot of stuff fit/crammed into that little corner.

I made painstaking progress as my helper found her “long, lost” something or other and switched to playing instead of helping. I let it go as I could clean a lot faster (and put a bunch of junk in the “trash” pile) without her watchful eyes. My 12-year old was still on a mission to somehow turn our house into one out of Better Homes & Gardens (I applaud her lofty goals). Three hours later, the kitchen gleamed and the living room looked descent (at least we wouldn’t be showcased on Hoarders Buried Alive this week). I’d just finished wiping the sweat off my brow, priding myself on a job well done, when the incident happened. (I shutter even now thinking about it:))

The little one is making her American Girl Doll kick an American Girl Doll-sized soccer ball across the freshly vacuumed carpet. My oldest saunters into the room and informs her little sister that she doesn’t get to have a friend over because she didn’t help clean up. (I know that’s a lot of she’s, but you get the idea.)

“Yes, I did too help!” the youngest screams in her loud, screechy, seven-year-old voice (you know the kind that makes you wish you had ear plugs). She then reaches into the box of Cheezits that sat on the end table (she hadn’t gotten around to putting it away yet) and throws one at her sister. I watch as it sails across the room and lands in the middle the carpet. It was in this moment (the last straw so to speak) that I lost it and am ashamed to say dropped the “F” bomb. My oldest recoiled in horror. The little one just shrugged her shoulders and smiled at me. Can you believe her audacity!?! I let a few more expletives fly and looked directly at my oldest daughter and said, “Yeah, I said a bad word and I’m going to say some more if you two don’t stop fighting and some one doesn’t pick up that blankety-blank Cheezit right now.”

Thank God above, they didn’t argue over who was going to pick it up and the little one bent down and actually picked it up. I don’t really know what she did with it next (I doubt she ate it, though, as she is my germ-a-phobe) as I headed upstairs to lace up my running shoes. Five minutes later I hit the pavement. Forty minutes and four miles later, I felt much better. I apologized to the girls for yelling and swearing. They apologized for fighting and being a tad messy and we forgave each other. Hugs all around and our house is mostly clean.

Next Sunday afternoon, though, I’m definitely taking a nap!

My June Bug

a-to-z-letters-jRain, sleet and wind swirl outside my window this dark April night. The warmth of June’s just a hopeful dream. But, as my daughters and I brainstormed “J” words that I could blog upon, my oldest hit on June – her favorite month. Being one of my favorite months as well, I settled on the subject of my J blog post for the tenth day of the A to Z blog challenge.

What’s so special about June? June brings with it the first day of summer, the longest day of the year, lightning bugs, flip-flops, lemonade and long evening walks to the park. But most importantly, eleven-years ago on the 17th of this coming June, my beautiful first-born daughter made an early entrance into this world and I became a mother – the best and hardest job I’ve ever had.

I can remember the day as if it were yesterday. She wasn’t due until July 25th, yet I spent the day before her birth-cleaning the house, doing laundry and packing my hospital bag – just in case. I’m one of those people who always likes to be prepared. I’d invited my parents over supper to celebrate Father’s Day. It was a warm beautiful evening and we’d just finished eating when I felt something “weird” down “there.” I went to bathroom and my waterbroke a’la Niagra Falls.

“It’s too early,” I worried as my mom helped lie down in the back seat of the car and timed my contractions while my husband sped us to the hospital 45 minutes away with my Dad following behind. In the ER the nurse confirmed via the “wet towel test” that indeed my water had broken and I was in labor.

“It’s a full moon,” they concluded when they took me to the last open room on the OB floor.

The doctor explained that they weren’t going to stop my labor as most 34 weekers did quite well.. I was still terrified. Because she was a preemie the took me to the OR and two pushes later at 5:39 AM she arrived. I didn’t get to hold her. The doctor showed her to me briefly and handed her over to the neonatologists. What seemed like an eternity passed. They wrapped her and put her in an incubator. I wouldn’t actually get to hold her until almost two hours later. Relief and happiness flooded me when they finally placed my baby girl in my arms.Jun17_02Emily

I cried hard when they released me two days later without my baby. Having problems with the “suck-swallow-breathe” response she spent a long two weeks in the NICU. She came home on a heart monitor, but I was grateful for it and the peace of mind it brought with it.

And now looking at the young girl who is almost as tall as I am, it’s hard to believe she was ever that 4 lb 15 ounce little peanut. She’s beautiful on the inside and out. She’s kind and compassionate toward others. She’s smart, sassy and sensitive. She’s creative and crafty. She likes to dance, ride bikes, write stories, read books, and eat ice cream. She hates scary movies (I wonder where she got that from) and thunderstorms. She’s my daughter and I love her.

“Black Bugs, Banana Boxes”

a-to-z-letters-bThe second day of April brings the letter “B” in the Blogging from A to Z  April Challenge. And, who can think of the letter “B” without thinking about the The Berenstains’ B Book by Stan and Jan Berenstain? Certainly not me. This fun book about “beautiful, baboons blowing bubbles, biking backwards and baby bird’s balloon” is one of my all time favorites. In fact whenever my kids go through their books to donate to our county’s Relay for Life used book sale, and I find that book in the give-away pile, I pluck it out and put it back on the shelf where it belongs.

While I don’t intend for my A to Z blogging challenge to be solely about children’s books, when I found out in my Facebook news feed from my local library that today is International Children’s Book Day, I knew my “B” blog had to be about books. When I look around my house, I see books everywhere – paper backs, hard backs, picture books, chapter books, eBooks (not that we are hoarders or anything – they are stacked neatly for the most part).

I love to read books and write books. As I child many evenings were spent in the quiet solitude of a good book. Both my parents, my sister and I were found lost in our books in silent companionship. My love of reading comes directly from my parents. My mom is a retired school librarian. Both she and my dad were always (and still are) reading a good book. Reading before bed was a nightly ritual in our house and continues to be so in my own family. Aside from the books I read to my daughters, I read on average one to two books a week when I’m not on a strict writing schedule.

As kids my sister and I always looked forward to trips to the library and now my daughters look forward to those visits as well. And the day our Scholastic book orders came in at school was “jack pot’ day. I see that same excitement on my girls’ face when they come home with their book order sheets already circled with the books they want. I admit I may indulge them in buying too many books, but I can’t help myself (which probably accounts for our overflowing book shelves). I love books and so do they!

By the way currently I am coincidentally  reading a book that starts with the letter “B” called Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. It is very thought-provoking and is making me really think about my boundaries, but that’s another blog for some other day.

What about you? What books do you like to read? Do you read as a child?

 

Time Musings

Missing Tooth

As I walked along our deserted country road this warm summer evening, holding my five-year-old’s hand, my mind wandered back through time. Last week she lost her first tooth. This afternoon she told me how she got to cross the road all by herself to get the mail, looking both ways to make sure no cars were coming of course. And in less than two weeks, she’ll start kindergarten. My eyes water already at just the thought of watching her climb aboard the big yellow bus and disappear out of sight.

I only have to close my eyes and I feel her tiny fingers wrapped around one of mine, her soft cheek pressed against my breast. I can hear the little sighs and gurgles she made as slept in my arms. I can smell the sweet pea shampoo in her freshly washed hair. I can see her little legs carry her across the living room, one shaking step at a time to reach my outstretched arms.

I try to wrap my mind around that elusive concept of time. Some days the seconds drag by in excruciating slowness. Yet in this moment it feels as if the years raced past me. Some days I wish I could pull a brake and slow time down and other days I want that fast forward button to take me some unknown place in the future that has to be better than the now. Some days I greedily wish for more time and other days  I wish or it away.

Time…60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in day, 7 days in a week, 356 days in a year…The math adds up the same every time, yet in my mind I still struggle and wonder how that can be.

I try to live in the present. Not think too much about the past or skip to far to the future. I know I only really have this moment and then its gone. The moments turn into memories and if I contemplate too long I’ll miss it and the next time I look at my daughter, she’ll be leaving for college…

Watch Me, Mommy! Please!

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Watch Me

“Mom! Mom! MOM!!!!” the girls call to me in unison getting progressively louder.

“What!?” I ask slightly irritated.(To be fair, I am deaf in one ear, so when I am absorbed in something, I really don’t hear them.)

“Watch me!”

They then proceed to show the their cartwheels, dance routine, play or cheer for the tenth time in the last hour.

“Great!” I smile and return to my book, laptop, gardening, laundry or whatever else has preoccupied my mind.

“Mommy!”

“What?” I ask again cranky.

Watch us! Please!

They then start their routine over.

I sigh. Smile wryly and silently ask God for patience.

Does this sound familiar? Or is it just me? Have you ever noticed when you start talking on the phone,, pulling weeds in the garden or reading a good book or writing a blog article, that all of a sudden your children take a special interest in you? Their neediness moves into overdrive, questing for my undivided attention to the point of almost rudeness. As an introvert I need to have a little “me” time to escape into my thoughts and recharge. A time where I don’t have to answer questions or find lost shoes or help with chores or make a PB&J sandwich. I long for interrupted alone time, but lately this time has alluded me. Pushed to my limits of patience, I become a bit “grouchy” and a little “snappy” with them.

Don’t get me wrong. I love spending time with my girls. Working 40 hours a week in my day job, they miss me and I miss them. I enjoy their company, yet also enjoy my own company. I need to find the balance between “mommy” time, “work” time and “wife” time (yes, my husband wants me time too – go figure) and “me” time. My head throbs trying to work it out so everyone gets their “piece” and there is still enough left over for me.

In the past I tried getting up extra early in the morning to carve out that time. Lately though, insomnia’s knocked right on my door around 3 AM, so I’m just falling back asleep when the early alarm goes off. I’m not sure how to solve this problem and am not likely to figure it out this evening as…guess what?

The girls are calling me. They need help feeding their rabbits, getting a Popsicle from the freezer and…

Any ideas? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Passion in My Pants?

So the girls and I are on the ride home from work/school. My nine year old has commandeered the front seat. (I know she should probably sit in the back seat for safety’s sake, but I always loved riding up front with my mom and I let her. I do make her push the seat a far back as it goes. I didn’t have the air bag danger in my days in the front seat.) And the reason she wants to sit up front? To be closer to her dear ole Mom? Not likely. She wants control of the music.

When her dad’s is in the van with us, he is in charge of our listening pleasures. She has to listen to the music he likes (currently he’s in a Stray Cats retro period), which unfortunately is not what kind of music she likes. When it comes to music, I’m not a totalitarian as he is.  I don’t mind listening to the tween music she’s into. I like most kinds of music (except maybe recorder music played by the above mentioned fourth-grader, but that’s another story). While Taylor Swift, Bella Thorne, Zendaya, Carrie Underwood, Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus aren’t at the top of my play lists, I have to admit they have some catchy tunes that stick in your head for the rest of the day. If the music makes her happy and smiley, then I’m happy and smiley. So I know the lyrics to Mean, and TTYLXOX and Good Girl. We sing along and rock it out. It’s not such a bad thing.  In fact many a day, I’ve found myself humming along to her music and realize she’s not even in the car with me — I just hadn’t  remembered to change the station after dropping her off.

My preschooler also knows to the lyrics these songs as well. I never really thought much about that fact until the other day. You see we are also into the wii game, “Just Dance” we have 1, 2 and 3. Although I wouldn’t want anyone I know to actually see me playing this game, its kind of fun. And so my fourth-grader has moved up in her musical tastes to “artists” like lmfao and Katie Perry and Kei$ha. I never thought much about the words of these songs as mostly I’m concentrating on the next move in the dance and not falling on my butt.

So when my five-year old started singing about “a bottle of Jack” I started to think maybe the music was a little bit old for the girls. Nah, I wasn’t going to turn into a music censor. If I say she can’t listen to it, she’ll want to listen to it all the more.  I remember when my parents and teachers had fit when we listened to “Jack and Diane” – he put his hands between her knees you know. Or worse George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex.” I remember my mother cringing everytime that one came on. However, I admit I had to pause when she then asked me what “passion in your pants” means. I decided maybe we needed to reassess the play list. I tried to ignore the question. Act like I hadn’t heard her. But she is persistent. “Mom, what’s passion in your pants?” Then the nine-year old chimed in, “Yeah, what does that mean?”

“Ahhhhh….I’m not really sure.” I get out.

The preschooler asks, “Is it some kind of bug?”

“Umm, maybe?” I dodge the question. I’m so not ready for that talk. “I think he just likes to dance and the pants he has on.”

“OK” she’s satisfied and moves on to some other question.

Hmmmm. Maybe we should just stick with the Stray Cats…

What do you think?

Spring Fever Rages

When I think of the month of March, typically I think cold, rainy gray days. I think of the smell of water-logged, dead earthworms laying in the parking filling the air. At some point during the month where mother nature may give us snow one day, rain and wind the next, and the warmth of the sun the third – or possibly all three in one day, I sight the first robin of the season and smile. I notice the leaves sprouting on the trees and the daffodils poking up through the muddy ground and know the hope for warmer days is near.

This March, however, we in the mid-west have been blessed ( although some snow sport lovers out there may think us cursed) with unseasonably warm weather. And I don’t just mean a day above 50 degrees here and there, but we’ve actually had several weeks of high 70’s and low 80’s. Yes, we had 80 degrees and sunshine in the middle of March. It is heavenly! It makes me wonder if someone up there in weather land got there M months mixed up. It feels more like late May than mid March, but I am definitely NOT complaining and neither are my children.

The girls wore shorts to school today. They didn’t even take along their jackets. The flip-flops and sandals were dusted off weeks ago. Everywhere I turn, children are playing and riding bikes, people are walking their dogs, flowers and trees are blooming and the diehards out there are actually mowing their lawns instead of shoveling snow. I love it!

Spring fever definitely rages in my home and workplace. Co-workers and I walk to a local cafe for lunch not wanting to return to our florescent-lighted, windowless cubicles afterwards. Not so much because we don’t like our jobs, but more so because the sun is calling us, luring us to sit and just absorb its warmth and bake off the winter pastiness and dreariness of the past three months. When 5:00 PM rolls around, I have approximately two and a half hours left of warm bliss that I take full advantage of.

A few nights ago I walked with my daughters. Actually I was the only one that walked. The oldest road her scooter and the youngest her two-wheeler with training wheels. We had a wonderful time walking and rolling and talking and laughing until… Until the youngest got tired of riding her bike about halfway home. She was just too tired to go on, especially after she’d tipped it a bit when she went down an incline (you can’t really call it a hill). From that point on she walked and whined about calling someone to pick us up while I pushed the bike (which I’d vowed not to do – sigh). A few moments later a car came up fast behind us (we live on a country road in the middle of no where, so I don’t see why people need to go so fast especially when the can see us walking along miles or at least yards in advance). Anyway it scared my oldest daughter and she veered her scooter off the road and wiped out. She scraped her leg although to hear her tell it you’d have thought it was broken. So now, I’m pushing the bike and scooter, while they both whine about calling their Dad to pick them up (even though the house is only yards away.) Oh well…at least we enjoyed the fresh air.

Last night our endeavor out was much more pleasant. We headed to our local park. Typically these excursions find me pushing two girls on the swings, helping them across the monkey bars and then collapsing on the bench to watch them. Tonight I took a different approach. I became a kid too. While I still pushed the swing, I never made it to the bench. I went down the slide and across that slider ‘thingy.’ I tried to pull myself up on to the top of the monkey bars as I’d done in my youth, but couldn’t quite make it – I have a lot more “girth” to move than I did when I was 10. Next we tried to skip stones across the pond (try being the key word) and then switched to seeing who could throw the farthest. No one was fishing, so I figured no harm. The girls smiled and laughed. When the sun started to set, we raced to the car, I would have won too if it weren’t for my shoes.

Today we’re supposed to hit 84 again. I haven’t figured out what we are going to do tonight yet. I’d like to get the flower beds cleaned out, but maybe will just shoot some hoops instead. I do know we won’t be sitting in front of the TV. The next few days rain is in the forecast and the highs are only in the 60’s. I am trying not to be disappointed. I am trying not to get spoiled, but I am. I think I might cry if the temperatures dip back into the 40’s or worse 30’s. And if it were to snow again before next December, well, I won’t be happy. For now though, my winter coat and boots are packed and my shorts and sandals are front and center. I’m going to feed that fever for as long as I can!