Friday, November 14, 2014

What To Duck From When You Have a Son- A Birthday Post for R1

R1 turns 7 today.


How have I had a child for longer than I spent in high school? How has it been over a decade that he has been invading my personal space, taking way-too-big "sips" of my pop, and making me giggle when he should be getting trouble?

I have no idea. But wow, does the saying "time flies when you're having fun" ring true when I think of my boy.

In the last 7 years I've called 911, been to the ER twice, been called by the principle, pulled out countless splinters, heard one too many butt jokes and skipped hundreds of bedtimes. 

Just the other night, when an "experiment" with food coloring turned my yellow kitchen rug an ugly brown, I was going off my hinges, yelling at him to go to his room and for the love of baby Jesus, go take a shower, you stink!"

But the minute he is out of the living room, I miss him. Well, not immediately, but I do notice how quiet the house is without him. And I don't always like it.

What R1 has taught me about life are lessons that can never be taught from the "What to Expect When You're Expecting." Maybe I should write my own bestseller, "What to Duck From When You Have a Son." It would have lists of all the things that get thrown at you. Dirty socks and weird questions like why do boogers get hard and if dogs can poop outside, why can't I?" 

Also, Legos (when you aren't stepping on them) are flying by your nose all the time. Along with screams from his poor little sister because he's chasing her around the house with a can of air freshener. And screams from the boy himself when I tell him to clip his fingernails or take a shower. These are the things you need to know about when you have a boy. Their feet stink way before you think they will. They will ALWAYS get food on their face no matter how careful you are. And simply licking your thumb and rubbing it off before dropping him off for school won't cut it. That stuff is there to stay. 

These adventures are just that. And they are fun (testing at times, but still fun). I yell, I throw my own tantrums as the result of some of these "adventures" sometimes but I still wouldn't trade him for the world. 

Yes, there have been times (more recently than ever) that I look at my little man, who gets perfect grades at school, whose teachers have always called him a great helper and compassionate friend, and I just wonder "what in the HELL where you thinking?" But all of the good things he says and does outweigh the bad. As his mom, I truly believe that his episodes of misbehavior are the best opportunities for learning life lessons, so I take them all in stride. (After having breakdowns on the phone with my sister, first of course.) 

But life without him would be so boring. Cleaner, less smelly and quieter, yes. But boring. Less sunshine, less snuggles, less goofy faces. Who wants to live a life with no cheesy smiles? Not this mama. 

Yesterday I read an article about being the mom of "That Kid"- you know the ones your kids are always telling you about who get into trouble or annoy everyone during quiet time. I'm not convinced R1 is "That Kid" but even if he is sometimes, as long as he knows the difference between wrong and right, I am not ashamed of him and I won't ask him to change his boisterous ways. 

Because that's him. And it's been 7 years that he's been this way and I can't imagine life any other way. 

Happy Birthday, Ryder Cash. You are so loved! 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Simple Things

I just noticed that lately my family and I have really been just enjoying the simple things in life....

Like eating dinner on the living room floor while watching Hook.

Like everyone sharing what they would change their name to if they could have any name in the world (Vivian Pearl Montgomery, duh)

Naming what talent you would do if you were starring in a talent show....

Sharing your pits and peaks of the day at dinner time

Telling the kids you ate all of their Halloween candy and watching them throw fits like the kids on Jimmy Kimmel


Shamelessly listening to the new Taylor Swift album 

Full House instead of bedtime 

The Two Dots app 

Making up cookie recipes (one yellow cake mix, 3 eggs, 1/3 cup old, 1 cup quick oats, 1/3 cup peanut butter, 1 bag of peanut butter chips)

Reading 5 samples of books before deciding which one to download 

Having enough time in the morning to curl your hair 

Actually having a house that will turn my "make believe" home decor Pinterest boards a reality.. (fingers crossed)

Sticking up for Lena Dunham on Twitter 

Extra extra big sweatshirts with leggings

Ugg boots that will never ever go out of style (in my book anyway)

Discovering the slow motion feature on your phone camera and playing for an hour watching your kids karate chop "like in the movies." 

Christmas catalogs in the mail 

Opening the windows and letting in the cooler air so everyone will want to cuddle with me. 

Facetiming with our Lucy  

Taking goofy selfies 

And shamelessly staying in our pjs on the weekends, which is exactly what we plan on doing! Happy Friday! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Book Round Up

Finally, some quiet time to actually blog! 
On top of Halloween, looking for a house, having the kids busy with school and activities, I have some time to put together one of my favorite posts to do, a book round up! It has literally taken me days to finish this post but better late then never, right?! 
Here's a collection of books that have caught my eye lately with an explanation about why I think it sounds like a good read along with a short synopsis. Enjoy! 

Reunion by Hannah Pittard

I just love a good reunion. High school, family, old friends. There's just something about revisiting the past while comparing it to your present that is interesting. The possibilities for drama are endless.

In Reunion, you'll find a woman who is, according to herself, failing at life. Her career and her marriage have ended and now she's facing her siblings (whole, step and half) in the wake of her father's death. There's ex wives, old feuds and a father she never really understood. All of these combine for a book I think would be perfect for a rainy day. 

Is it just me, or is this the greatest title ever? Something about bones is slightly scary and  unnerving and the word "clocks" makes me feel anxious. It may one of the most intriguing book titles I have heard about in a long time. Just that was enough to snag it a spot on my must read list. That and the fact that I have seen it getting lot of book buzz lately. 

A fifteen-year-old runaway hears voices. A wealthy boy from the right side of the tracks. Something paranormal is tying several different characters from various parts of the world together. The mystery spans decades-1984 to 2043 and the New Yorker review called it a mysterious masterpiece. And you can't really argue with the New Yorker, can you? 

Two things I have a lot of curiosity and experience with: Accidents and Marriage, which is  why it caught my attention. That, and the fact that it tackles the much less talked about  type of abuse. We hear about physical abuse but there's also emotional abuse that many people face (myself included) that also needs to be talked about, It made me want to read it even more. Emotional abuse is still abuse, even if the bruises left behind aren't visable. 

Maddy is a wife and mother who is constantly playing catch up in life. She's devoted to being a good mother and to not setting off her husband's temper. But the day comes when she can't avoid his outbursts any longer and she finds herself in the hospital and her life off balance. This is a story of how a woman battles again emotional abuse and fights for her family. 

Right now, I am devouring The Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld and audiobook and deciding whether or not to start Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult or Yes Please by Amy Poehler. I've read samples on my Kindle for both and loved them! What would your vote be? 

If you are looking for more great book choices, check out the 2014 Best Books of Goodreads awards going on right now. They have a great list of top books plus you get to vote for your favorites! Coming soon, I will be sharing with you which ones I would choose as the winners!   

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Perfect Commercial for Unperfect Moms

Reasons why this video is my life:

First, I DID start a blog...and do a half ass job of posting a couple times a month, or week if I happen to find super powers somewhere. But I still love it!  

One time, I too made the mistake of driving with children and balloons in my car. I told one of the kids to stop, for the love of PETE, banging a balloon on my head. After threatening to throw the balloon out the window 10 times I snapped. I threw the car into park  at a stop sign, got out and stomped those balloons to their untimely death. The silence from the backseat after that was like heaven to my ears. 

R2 is lucky to get to dance class dressed in a proper leotard. She's worn a leopard print skirt before and a gymnastics leotard, though, gosh darn it. Can I get an "amen" for whatever it takes to get them out the door? 

I do want R2 to look up to long as it's not for my sailor's mouth or my addiction to Diet Dr. Pepper and bad reality television. 

My kids will never know the joy of having a hamster. I refuse. I can still smell the wood chips from the cage my gerbil who lived way longer than my mom thought he would. She bought him to make up for the fact that she had to give away our Yorky. And because the guy at Earl May said gerbils have a short life span. Four years, several pairs of socks and a dented, bald tail later, Chucky taught me a lot about pets. For one, I learned that you should check their cage doors before leaving for school so their tails aren't caught all day....I also learned that you should probably research life expediencies of rodents before making an uninformed commitment and locking yourself in for pet purgatory. 

You see, the reason I love this commercial so much is because it shows the unglamorous side of motherhood and the silliest of the unrealistic expectations we set for ourselves. 

I never ever thought I would be a "perfect" mom and although I admire some of the moms on Pinterest, I am totally okay with the fact that my "crafts" will usually show up on the sarcastic "nailed it" side of the meme. But that's okay. Because tonight, R1 and I sat down on the living room floor and painted his Halloween costume together. I wanted it to be perfect- but he was begging to paint the eyes on his own costume. So I said, what the hell, why not? and let him paint the eye brows on his Lego man head. And of course they are totally crooked but the smile on his face after looking at the finished product was absolutely perfect. 

Funny that my mother mishaps (losing a kid, for example) are so far from making me a perfect mom, but ironically, I always end up describing that my kids' smiles at the end of the day are...well, perfect. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Things I Learned About Watching The Royals

I wouldn't be what you'd call a die hard sports fan.

I think it's because I sucked at hurdles in eighth grade track. And barely made the "c" team in volleyball...and I'm pretty sure I was just a mascot on the freshman basketball ball but they just didn't tell me and let me sit on the bench.

However, as I've gotten older I've really become aware of the camaraderie that comes with being a loyal sports fan.

I live in Missouri. We aren't exactly the "A" team in sports if you didn't know. Sure there's the Cardinals. But I hate the color red.

Early this year there was stirring in Kansas City and finally, people started paying attention to some boys wearing blue.

My family has been Royals fans for years. I remember going to games in the early 90s with my baby doll. I remember the cheer of the crowd and the beautiful blue everywhere.I remember looking at the posters in my aunt's room of George Brett and thinking how amazing it was that she got to meet the amazing baseball player in the late 80s.

We've been to more games and I've always loved the atmosphere.

And now I'm sitting in my living room watching them kick butt in Game 6 of the World Series and thinking, this is so BIG.

There are so many HAPPY people because of this. Like I said, I don't know much about sports but what I do know, I've learned from watching the KC Royals come from a place of "loss" to totally KICKING stereotypes in the butt and proving that ANYTHING can happen and that just because things aren't going up up up all the time doesn't mean you should stop paying attention.

If I had to pick a sport, it's always been baseball for me. I grew up watching Angels in the Outfield, Sandlot, Major League, Bad News Bears, A League of Their Own.

When we were in Florida, we were sitting on the beach and this guy came out of the water, out of no where, looked at us in our Royals hats and t-shirts and shouted "playoffs, baby!" and then went right on walking. We met another group of random Royals fans later that week, it was contagious.

I love that my little state has so much to be excited about. The Royals. Our soccer team- The Sporting KC- has some of the most enthusiastic fans ever, and our Chiefs. There's just always something to talk about with everyone. We're all on the same team.

So like I said earlier, I've never been much of a sports gal on the court, but man, do I love being a  fan in the stands.

Whether or not the Royals clench the World Series tomorrow night doesn't matter in the long run. (But man I am counting on sees the amazing smiles on those handsome players faces!)  It doesn't change the fact that they've made people believe again. It doesn't change the fact that they've given us all something to have in common again. We're there with them. That's what sports have taught me: When you're out, you're out. But when you are in, you'll always be in as long as you believe in your team.

Let's Go Royals!

Monday, October 27, 2014

When My Son Was Missing

I looked at the clock in the car. It had only be 12 minutes. Twelve minutes is nothing in our normal lives. But this was not a normal day. This was the day that R1 went missing. I tend to roll my eyes when people act dramatic like this but there isn't any other way to put it.

R1 was supposed to walk from the corner of the school across the street to his daycare. His 6 year old little mind decided he'd rather go home instead.

Here's the part that kills me. The part that makes me feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest every day since. I failed in telling the babysitter that R1 was going to be at her house that day. Usually, he's only there Thursdays and Fridays but that Wednesday, he was supposed to go to daycare. Our schedule is crazy, always changing, always shifting. She didn't know he was coming and so she didn't notice he was gone.

R1 was missing for 2 hours. He sat ALONE on the back porch of his babysitter's before deciding "heck, I know how to walk home." So he walked his 6 year old butt the half a mile home and then stay there ALONE for another hour and a half before anyone knew he was missing.

Just typing that makes me sick to my stomach.

The guilt that settles on my chest is immeasurable. I was driving on the highway when I got the call that he wasn't at daycare and was in full panic mode, crying out in my car when I reached town. You know that sound you make when you get the wind knocked out of you? Yeah. That.

I drove around the blocks surrounding the school and the babysitter's, I flew over to his grandparent's house even though I knew they weren't home. Once I still hadn't found him, I called 911. A voice inside me just kept saying "No one knows where he is" and I didn't hesitate calling.

There is NOTHING that can describe what it is like telling a 911 dispatcher what your son is wearing and the color of his hair.

Somewhere in the panic I finally had the thought to go check home. Why didn't I think of that first? Because it was such a long way for a little boy to walk. Across the main street, across the bridge. I just didn't think.

As I hurdled home, I just kept praying and saying "please let me find him."

And sure enough, there he was, watching cartoons and eating Cheetos in our living room.

I just started yelling into the phone (that poor dispatcher) ""He's home, he walked all the way home. He's here!"

The look on my face must have spoken a thousand words because R1 just starred at me and then followed me back out the door. The babysitter had followed me to help find him so I had to go outside and tell her he was home. She was relieved. I was relieved. The 911 dispatcher was relieved (probably because I stopped scream-sobbing in her ear). His dad was relieved. Everyone was.

So what do you do when you are so happy that your son is home that you are teetering between BEATING HIS BEHIND and scooping him up into your arms and never letting go?

You just give him the death glare. And then hug him. Hard.

A couple hours later, the sheriff of the local police called to make sure R1 was okay and asked if I would like him to come to talk to R1 about the dangers of walking alone and being home alone. ( I have since started calling R1 Kevin McAllister). R1's dad and I thought this was a great idea so that night, the sheriff  came over to talk to him. He also gave me a kit for taking my kids' fingerprints and physical descriptions to send back for their files just in case they were to ever go missing, which is a scary but smart idea, do the same for your kids!

He sat R1 down and explained that even though he was smart enough to walk home, that didn't mean we could trust people we didn't know. He explained the scariness of kidnappers, the dangers of drivers not paying attention and the hazards of being home alone.

R1 starred and nodded. He was clearly intimidated and rightfully so. That talk, combined with me telling him how worried his dad and I were, on top of losing all electronic game privileges for a week, have seemed to teach R1 a lesson. We all had very long talks about everything and I feel good about it.

That night after he had fallen asleep, my heart was still rattling around in my chest, unsettled.

It's just another lesson, another fight to be better, to pay more attention, to slow down. It's no one's fault that R1 wasn't accounted for. It's a combination of many factors but the most important thing that he was just fine and that we've all learned a huge lesson. Yes, our schedule is crazy but that's no excuse. But it's also hard as a mother not to be too hard on yourself. Motherhood is the most important job I have.

So to any other moms out there who have ever "screwed up" just take a deep breath and give yourself a mental hug. Or call your mom, sister or best friend for one. We are fine. We are human. Our kids love us and always will. Being a mom comes with an unconditional element that means it's okay. 

Today is a new mom day.

(To download a Child Safe Kit for your family, click here)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Review: Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Duhnam

 I am happy to say that I can easily name my favorite book of the year thus far!

I bring you:

Not That Kind of Girl, A Young Woman Tells of What She's "Learned" 
By Lena Duhnman

First of all, I think it's safe to say that we would all need to put "learned" in quote marks when telling others our life lessons. Because how do we really know if we have fully learned, comprehended and appreciated all of our life experiences? In the whole scheme of my 28 years, my life lessons are a spec of what is to come, I am sure. (Which is scary because just considering reliving for the sake of retelling them all for you gives me heart palpitations) 

If you don't already know, Lena Duhham is a  actress, screenwriter, producer, and director. She's the star actress and creator of the HBO show, Girls, which has a bazillon awards under its belt. Do yourself a favor and binge watch it, starting yesterday. This is Lena's memoir about her adolescence and I can only hope she'll write more, considering she's still in her 20s. 

Not That Kind of Girl paints a picture of the path that probably led Lena to most of the crazy ass scenarios that the characters on Girls find themselves in (cocaine addiction, low self-esteem, OCD, co-dependent relationships)  you know, the usual. 

So basically, Lena Duhnam and I are soul sisters, cut from the same cloth. I nodded along with her as she mused about her parents, her inability to mix in with the crowd and her need to act out in spite of self. I related to everything. Our insecurities mirror each other. Apart from her cocaine experimentations- we were pretty much on the same wave length, although my addiction to cheap wine is probably just as bad. 

Lena writes about her life via short snip bits of summer camp nightmares, cringe worthy sexual encounters, awkward parenting moments, identity crisis and anything that falls into the category of a young woman in the 2000s trying to figure what the hell is going on. Like I said, this book could have probably been my own recollections, with a few weird stepdads and a sheltered midwest upbringing thrown into the mix. 

One of the most powerful messages came at the end of the book where Lena muses about finally finding an adult relationship that is built on a strong foundation of unconditional love and mutual respect... 

She spoke to the young woman in all of us about relationships with other women.... 

And about our relationship with our inner self...

And about our present...and about getting to a future that fits us. 

I can't really put into words or "review" what this book is all about. It's about being a female, growing (up, old, inward, outward)  life, and the crap that happens to us when we are asking "why" all the time. Come to think of it, there's also a lot mixed in about what happens when we stop asking "why" and just LIVE.

What other reason do you need to read it? 

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