Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wait Just a Minute

It’s going by just a little bit too fast.

I’ve been a mom for over nine years now. Of all the jobs I’ve ever had, being a mother is the hardest, the most demanding – and the most rewarding. I can’t imagine my life now without these little people in it.

As the days and months – and years – go by, it’s becoming all too clear how fast the time goes.
"Did you organize that I could run so fast?"

When I was little, I used to hear my parents talk about “how fast time flies.” I never agreed with them. Time CRAWLED by back then… my birthday always seemed like it would never come, and Christmas was even worse!

But now? Wow. Now I get it.

I took Sadie shopping for clothes the other day in the Juniors’ section – she can’t find anything that fits her long legs in the Girls’ section anymore.

Josie went to a horse riding class all by herself and she was perfectly fine without me. She made two new “best friends,” and she even got their phone numbers.

Adelaide turned five this week – my little baby girl is FIVE. She’s already lost two teeth and she’s starting to learn to read.

Jedidiah, my baby boy, now talks in complete sentences. As we went past the bakery in the grocery store yesterday he informed me: “I want some cake. In my mouf!”

I used to think that their littleness – their “kid-ness” – would go on forever. But now I see that it won’t. They really are only little for a little while.

They don’t understand that most days I just want to catch them and somehow freeze them in one of their amazing moments:

Jed, red-faced and exuberant, swinging his arms and jumping with both feet (clad in his favorite snowboots) from the lawn chair into the grass, yelling, “Wook, Mom! I DOOoooo it!”

Adelaide, giggling madly with squinched-up eyes, running through the yard wearing a puppy dog t-shirt, a long skirt and bare feet, tossing a “Did you organize I could run so fast?” over her shoulder as she passes by in a blur. (She substitutes “organize" for "realize.")

Josie (wearing her pirate eye patch), lovingly concentrating on her latest bug capture, building it a habitat and letting it crawl all over her arms while she digs her toes into the dirt and sings (loudly) to the wind: “Duke Duke Duke Duke of Earl, Duke Duke….”

Sadie, flitting from her garden to the flowerbeds with a watering can, a butterfly net, a paintbrush, and a bucket of rocks, saying, “Mom! You have GOT to come see this! I cracked that boulder open with my rock-hammer! Oh, and how do you spell chrysalis?”  

And now… now that chances are very slim that I’ll ever have another baby, it makes me sad to know that they are growing up a little more every day. And the days are almost a blur.

I don’t really know who I am anymore, aside from them. They have, to an extent, consumed me.  

But they are still my babies. I love the excitement they bring to my life – the chaos, the newness, the imagination. I love watching them overcome every obstacle. I love how they are constantly reinventing themselves, conquering their fears and trying scary, intimidating things.  

It scares me a little that they are growing up – that every step they take from now on will be a step further away from me. Fortunately, since this is also the busiest I’ve ever been, I really don't have much time to dwell on it.

Sometimes when I’m tucking them in at night, I sing them this little song I made up (which they think is sappy but they love that it makes me cry): “Please stay little just a little while longer… don’t grow up so fast
Please stay little just a little while longer, I want this moment to last.”

Yes, time is flying, and some moments are harder than others, but I wouldn’t trade this time for anything.  

Not one minute of it.

--from my 5/29/13 post for

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I'm Not That Simple

Men are simple creatures, aren’t they?

I don’t know about you, but I used to operate under the assumption that my husband was somehow always in deep thought. He would sit there, looking all introspective, and I’d ask him, “What are you thinking?” He would usually glance up and say, “Huh? What? Nuthin.’”

And honestly, I used to think he was keeping something from me. Something deep and, well, profound. Meaningful. At least thoughtful. But after almost twelve years of marriage, I’ve come to the conclusion that usually he really IS thinking about “nuthin.’”

Once I figured this out, I decided to explain to him that women, too, are simple. After this long, he should really be an expert about me, for Pete’s sake. I wanted him to understand that I am easy to please. I am a “what you see is what you get” kind of girl.

Then I realized that I was wrong.

For example, if he comes home and finds me face down on the bed crying, his simple mind assumes that something must’ve happened to cause the crying. He asks:

“What’s wrong?”
To which I respond, “Noth-th-th-ing!”
“So why are you crying?”
“I don’t – I don’t – I don’t KNOW!”
“Then stop it!”
“I want to, but I – I – cannnnn’t!”

He walks out the room with a big sigh, shaking his head and muttering something unintelligible.
He also mutters at me for other reasons:

“I have to take Sadie to the dentist and Josie to sushi night and Adelaide to the library and I have to get Jed’s hair cut and I have to get to the grocery store before the deli closes and I need to take a shower and the laundry isn’t done and I still don’t have my article written!”
 “So why don’t you just reschedule something?” he asks calmly.

“I can’t! I can’t just reschedule!”

Arrrgh. Why can’t he understand that I don’t want his help to solve my problem – I just want him to commiserate with me. To feel my pain.

Or, for instance:

“They don’t like me! I am so upset! I just don’t understand it….”
“So? Who cares if they don’t like you? Don’t like them back!”
“That’s not the point!” You see, I just want him to reassure me. To tell me that anyone who doesn’t think I’m fantastic is just completely crazy.

He’s very plain and simple. His logic is completely crazy in all its simplicity, if you ask me.

Sometimes I do wish that I were a little less complicated. But the mind of a woman just isn’t meant to be figured out. It’s not going to happen.

Simple as that.

--from my 5/23/13 post for

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

He said, she said

"Jed, how did you get out of your bed?"
"I climb out."

"Jed, where's Grampie Don?"
"Work. You killin' a- me!"

"I do it!"
"More time!" (as in, one more time!)
"Guys doin'?" (to his sisters)
"Sew Boots!" (what shoes do you want to wear? It's ALWAYS snow boots.)
"Too bad."
"I seepy too."

"Hey, I didn't organize that Grampie was home today!" And she didn't realize it either. 
"And now I will repair for take-off." And hopefully prepare, too.

Adelaide to her big sister, as Sadie worked hard to build a fire in the firepit:
"Sadie, you are the best fire-pit builder EVER. When I grow up, I'm going to be a good fire-pit builder just like YOU." 

Josie, to me, as I ran alongside the Powerwheels Jeep carrying her and Jed and chased Adelaide on her bike: "Yah, mule! Yah!"

"Sadie, do NOT take any more blankets in the living room to pile up for your sleeping pallet!"
"But MOM, the flord is har!"
"But Sadie, you are a pat rack!"

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What a Mess!

“Look at this mess!”

How many times have you caught yourself saying this, moms?

I don’t know about you, but I seem to channel my mother’s voice at least twice a week. Here are some of the messiest messes that I’ve run (stumbled, slipped, slid) across in my tenure as a mom:

Washing a diaper in the washing machine. This is SO annoying. You open the washer, start taking out your “clean” clothes and find a billion little sticky gel balls all over EVERYTHING. Not only do you have to rewash the load of laundry, you have to spend 45 minutes cleaning “super-absorbent power crystals” out of the holes in your washing machine. And you can only hope it was a clean diaper.

Eggs. My little girl opened the refrigerator door and an entire carton of eggs somehow fell out and landed on the floor with a splat. It was such a sticky, slimy mess. I just stood and looked at it. I mean, how do you even begin to clean something like that up? Paper towels don’t help one bit. You try to wipe them up and those eggs just slide right out of there. I ended up using the dustpan and a LOT of Clorox wipes.

Dog poop on shoes. Whether it’s from your own (pre-scooped) yard or from an irresponsible dog-owner in the park, your child’s shoes (especially boots with thick tread) are a magnet for dog poop. There’s just no easy way to go about digging the poop out from between those crevices. A stick? A pencil? A Q-tip? Doesn’t matter. It’s all disgusting, and no water hose has enough pressure to give you adequate help.

Prickers. Last fall, my daughter ran into a pricker bush (I don’t know the scientific name) next to our garage. This particular bush has very pretty flowers in the summer, but in the fall, it becomes a gigantic evil reverse-porcupine pincushion. She had on, of course, a pink fleece coat. Those prickers got stuck EVERYWHERE. After we both worked on plucking them out for hours, I just eventually gave up and got her a new coat.

Oh no.. they were all in one basket, too.
Play-doh. Every kid loves Play-doh, right? And I must admit, it does keep them busy (and even quiet!) for hours. But is it worth it when you find the leftovers dried up and ground into the carpet? It’s impossible to get out, so you step on a hard, crusty reminder of all that fun every time you walk barefoot down the hallway.

Sugar (or flour). My kids love to cook and bake. I like for them to help, too (it’s always one lesson closer to them doing all of the cooking instead of me!) One of my favorite messes has to be when sugar gets all over the floor. Don’t you just love the gritty, crunchy feeling of walking around on that stuff on your kitchen floor? I know I do.

Poop under fingernails. Have you ever been a little less careful than you should have been while changing a stinky diaper? I have. Have you ever had baby poop under your fingernails? I have.

Throw up. Every mom has been through her share of midnight cleaning raids, aka “a stomach bug.” Cleaning up “throw up” is, in my book, the most disgusting thing in the world. Slimy. Stinky. Uncontainable. Gagworthy. Everywhere.

Goldfish crackers in water. Maybe I’m the only one that this has happened to. I hope so. My girls put some goldfish crackers in a cup of water on the top bunk of their bed, then proceeded to forget that it was there. That is, until they accidentally kicked it over and it dripped all over the bed, down the side rails, and onto the bottom bunk. Nasty, days-old cheddar goldfish cracker soup smells like you would not BELIEVE. We had to fumigate their room for DAYS.

Glitter, mud, strawberries, sprinkles, diaper cream, syrup, toothpaste, milk, Styrofoam “beans,” toilet paper, bubbles, painting the dog… I could go on and on.

Parenting is a messy business. Children are not for the neat!

What’s the biggest mess you’ve ever had to clean up?

The Drama from Your Mama

Being a mom is very confusing.

One minute, my daughter was dancing around without a care in the world, singing, "This is the best day of my life!" and the next, she was throwing herself face-down on the bed while moaning, "Nobody likes me! I should just go eat worms!"

Girls seem to be a bit over-dramatic – at least mine are.

And I have THREE of them.

My 4-year-old was upset over some injustice (wrought by Yours Truly) and she sobbed, “You are the baddest mom in the world! Even in the whole LAND!”

Wow. In the whole LAND, people! I guess I might’ve lost sleep over this, had she not changed her mind roughly 12 seconds later and exclaimed, “You are the very best mom! I am going to hug you and never let go!”

With this sort of thing going on, I'm not sure exactly what's going to happen around here as they get older. When they become teenagers (they will all be teenagers at the same time for several years) and the hormones really start flowing, is my house going to implode or something? Is the roof going to blow off?

Today while building a garden box with her dad, my oldest ran into the kitchen and proclaimed, “I am a horrible, awful, terrible, completely worthless gardener! I spilled dirt everywhere, I keep dropping every single thing I pick up and I almost hit Daddy in the face with the rake! I am the worst!”

Five minutes later, she ran back outside, nonchalantly informing me: “Gotta get back out there! I’m the best gardener ever, you know.”

My husband has already told me that I'm just going to have to handle “those teen years.” He says that he's going to go into the bedroom, close the door and not come out until after they all turn 18.

One night after watching a particularly dramatic sob, flounce and exit sequence, I asked him, "What makes you think that I know how to deal with this?"

He answered, "Because you are exactly the same way.”

But I am definitely NOT. He is the worst husband in the whole LAND and I think he should just go eat worms.

--from my 5/21/13 post for 

13 Ways Moms are Like Celebrities

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you over-working, under-sleeping, multi-tasking, laundry-doing, ever-loving moms!

Today I’d like to turn your attention to how WE, the moms, are like celebrities. No, we don’t have tons of money and we don’t spend $500 on a new purse. But take a peek at these striking similarities:

1. Your name is a household name. Let’s face it. Everyone knows you’re a mom. You have that “mom look” about you. And anywhere you hear your name (even from complete strangers at the grocery store, the library, the park) you always look up and answer, “What?”

2. People follow you around everywhere. You have your own special version of the paparazzi. They always know where you are. They show up uninvited and usually, they make a nuisance of themselves.

3. Wherever you go, people scream and cry for you. Your time and attention are in high demand. You are number one on the Most Desirable People List.

4. You have a chauffeur. Oh, wait – I meant you ARE a chauffeur.

5. You have your own talk show. It’s called Sit Down for Dinner, and you, the host, spend half an hour trying to interview unforthcoming people to find out what the heck they have been up to and why. Sometimes, they jump up and down on your couch like Tom Cruise.

6. You spend thousands of hours “on the road.” Granted, you’re not going to Aspen, Rome or the French Riviera. But play group, Sunday School, the museum and summer camp are close seconds.

7. You have to entertain crowds of screaming fanatics (and sometimes, all of their friends.)

8. You get no privacy. Not even in the bathroom. If you lock the door, someone can usually figure out how to unlock it from the outside. Otherwise, you’ll be able to see their fingers sticking through under the crack at the bottom . Come on, they just want to be close to you.

9. Someone is always pulling at your clothes or throwing their (dirty) underwear at you. Or socks.

10. You set trends. You come up with fashion-forward ideas like matching holey yoga pants with mismatched flip-flops in the dead of winter. Or this season’s newest look: coffee-splattered t-shirts half-tucked into mud-splattered jeans with cowboy boots. And trending for summer: hair that sticks up in front and looks like a rat’s nest in back along with a great-looking sunburn because you used up all the sunscreen on your 2-year-old’s voluminous cheeks.

11. You’re always being quoted. Quotes will usually be unforgettable gems starting out with, “But Mo-om, YOU said….” or any random bad word that has inadvertently come out of your mouth sometime in the past six months. Quotes are usually conveniently remembered either during prayer at church or at your in-laws’ house.

12. Your fans adore you. They want to be just like you , so you better be careful what you say, do, eat, wear, read, watch…. Oh, forget it. Just be careful how you live.

13. And the best thing about being a celebrity mom? You already know it. You love your biggest fans more than anything else in the world. 

--from my 5/21/13 post for

A Mom's Rant: Brought to you by Girls' Clothing

I am annoyed by many things.

Here’s a short list: whistles, whining, garden hoses that won’t un-kink, Christmas lights of any sort, electrical cords, people who yell at other people that they are “intolerant” (doesn’t this neutralize any “intolerance” that they themselves claim to have?), dog poop, pens that don’t work, shoestrings that are too short, people who don’t pull over to the curb when they are getting a ticket, repetitive noises, car alarms, dead batteries, bullies, Abercrombie & Fitch, weeds that grow between bricks, when people think I’m ignorant because I have a southern accent, radio commercials, pollen, background TV noise, caution signs that read “BUMP” (seems like it would be just as easy to fix the bump as to put up a sign) and a myriad of other things.

However, since summer is coming up and I have three daughters, I have decided to focus my annoyance on one thing (for the moment, anyway.) That thing is: girls’ clothing.

Shopping with my daughters should be fun. Usually it is, but the other day as my 9-year-old and I looked through row after row of skimpy swimsuits and super short summery shorts, she asked, “Why do they sell stuff like this for kids?” She’s a smart girl, and that’s a good question. She seemed curious and frustrated at the same time when she found a section of padded bikini tops in the girls’ 8-10 section. “This stuff doesn’t seem very modest,” she added, with a roll of her eyes.

I would have to agree. When I was growing up, if I had tried to leave the house in some of the things being marketed to our young girls today, my daddy would’ve sent me straight back to my room to change and/or put on a sweater.

I am annoyed – and offended, I might add – that so many of today’s stores and designers seem to be selling sex to our daughters. Don’t they grow up too soon as it is? Why would we want to buy them underwear printed with the words “Feeling Lucky?”

I’ve said it before (When Did Halloween Get So Trashy?) and I’ll say it again:
Whose brilliant idea was it to start dressing our little girls like grown (and immodest, at that) women? Why is this okay?

Call me old-fashioned. Call me style-less. Heck, just call me crabby. I may very well be all of these things (and worse), but it’s not just about clothing. Being modest is about so much more than that. It’s about self-respect. It’s about dignity and having people like you for YOU, not for what you’re wearing (or NOT wearing.)

I’ll be honest with you – as the mother of three girls, I’m worried about this issue. As styles get skimpier and skimpier and the whole “sex sells” idea permeates more and more of our culture, it’s getting harder and harder to teach girls that they are MORE than just a pretty face – more than some boobs and a perky backside. It’s getting harder and harder to convince them of the truth: that their worth isn’t based on their outward appearance and that they do not have to believe what they hear (or see)!

I know that’s “what’s in the stores.” I know that it’s hard to find other styles. I know that girls want to wear stuff that’s “in,” stuff that’s popular – stuff that people in magazines are wearing. But newsflash: we don’t HAVE to buy that stuff. We are the parents. We have the money. If the stores aren’t moving the short shorts and the skimpy, low-cut tank tops, then they WILL get something different. If we complain, if we tell the manager, if we write some emails to corporate offices… we could really change some things.

Of course I’m not suggesting that girls need to wear puritanical dresses and veils, but we have to teach our girls to be strong minded individuals who value themselves and are capable of making rational decisions about their bodies and yes, even their choice of clothing. Yes, I know that as their mother, it’s my job to do that. But the fact is that they LIVE in the culture that surrounds them. No matter what I teach them, they will (in some way or shape or form) be affected by our culture, and to put it bluntly, this part of our culture is just stupid.

Is it any surprise that the US is full of thousands and thousands of young girls who are suffering from eating disorders? Or that kids are having sex at younger and younger ages? In a world where sexual exploitation and “gendercide” of females are taking place at an unbelievable rate, shouldn’t we have something better to offer as role models than unrealistically thin models dressed in string bikinis? Shouldn’t our stores offer little girls’ clothing that looks like it should be worn by (gasp) LITTLE GIRLS?

Make no mistake – our children are being objectified by retailers and we are PAYING them to do it.
Shouldn’t parents be infuriated by this? Or at the very least, annoyed?

Our daughters deserve better.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Diah Hayes

I love that boy so much I can't stand it.

Yes, I think I'm completely in love with a 2 year old.

I love the way he looks in my eyes and laughs this silly little giggle.
I love the way he grins and slyly says, "Peeeease? Pease, Mom?"
I love the way he runs with this weird little "hitch in his giddy-up" and holds his arms bowed out to the sides.
I love how says his sisters' names: Addy-aide, Docie, Say.
I love how he saunters in and says, "ROCCCCO! We home!"
I love his question words: "Whure? Who? What? No? (which means "I don't know)
I love how he says his name: "Diah Hayes" or, more recently, "Boy."
I love how he yells, "I wub YOUUUUUUU!" through the door when I put him down for his nap.
I love how he comes into the room and says, "Hey-doh."
I love how he sneaks into my bed and says, "I snuggle. Nursey! Read. Book."
I love how he yells "Ant! Ant!" and will stare at bugs for half an hour at a time.
I love his crazy hair and his chubby hands and his big feet and his fat little knees.
I love how he says "Whure Dad?"
I love how he sneezes and says "Bess you!" to himself.
I love how he kicks his toys to the side and says, "Scu me" to his fire truck. 
I love how he dances a crazy dance with his hands on his hips and a giant smile on his face.
I love his pointy, Christian Bale-like teeth and his teeny little dimple.
I love how every morning, he pulls "a fuzzy" from his blanket and carries it around with him.
I love how he gives in when he thinks someone is crying and how he is so SWEET.
I love how he says, "I pray! God, pray, God, Donut, God. Amen."
I love how when he falls down sometimes he jumps right back up and says, "I fine!" 
I love how he gives hugs (and pats on the back) and smooches.
I love how he says "I do it. I DOOOOOO it!"

I do NOT love how he steals the Power Wheels and tries to drive into the street or how he grabs handfuls of dirt and THROWS them into the air or how he takes off his own diaper and pees in the floor and laughs or how he climbs on top of the refrigerator or takes Daddy's tools out to "fix" things, or sticks the keys into the ignition of the car and says, "I DRIVE!"

But, oh, how I love him.