Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mrs. Mozingo

The summer before I entered the fourth grade, we moved to a new school district. While I was sad to leave the school I knew so well for a larger school, I hoped that the change would be just what I needed. The previous year, I had a teacher that didn't like kids who didn't have parents on the PTA or have a lot of money. My parents didn't fit those categories so I was not on her list of favorite students. She routinely overlooked my raised hand, pointed out my flaws to the class and made me feel like I was not good enough to be in her class. Prior to that, I'd always been the teacher's pet so this was an unwelcome change and really threw my eight year old mind into a whirlwind. My grades and my attitude reflected my unhappiness and I'm sure my family wondered what happened to their kid who loved school so much.

When I entered the fourth grade at my new school, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my new teacher was a sweet woman that radiated love for every child in her class. In her eyes, we were all equal and she wanted nothing more than to show each of us love and teach us to love to learn. Within a couple of weeks, I loved school again. I loved being in her class.

Mrs. Mozingo loved to read. Every day after lunch, she would read aloud to the class from a "chapter book" and at the end of each chapter, we were left begging for more. It wasn't just because the book was so fantastic, it was often because of the way she read it. She loved reading to us and we all knew it. We would get so involved in the stories that we would literally lose ourselves in them. At the age of nine, that can be unusual. I remember sobbing in class when the hounds died in "Where The Red Fern Grows". I was so wrapped up in the story that I didn't care if anyone saw me, I was sad. Suddenly, I was a voracious reader. I couldn't get enough. I fell in love with every author, book and character Mrs. Mozingo introduced me to. When she read from Shel Silverstein, I knew I'd love him forever. At every opportunity, I'd check his books out at the library and memorize every poem I could get my hands on.

Looking back now, I realize that a lot of who I am as an adult, started in the fourth grade. So many of the things I am so passionate about came from that year I spent learning from her. She was a wonderful teacher and her passion spilled over into her students.

However, it wasn't her passion for reading and writing that I believe changed me the most. It was her love. The day before I walked into her class, I had no hope. I'd had a bad year the year before. My home life was shaky. I was in a brand new school. I could have been a lost cause. I could have remained hopeless. But, I walked into her class and she loved me. She treated me like a daughter. She didn't care if my parents didn't have a lot of money, she cared about me. I can't stress enough how much that affected me.

Mrs. Mozingo still lives near my parents. A few years back, I ran into her at a local restaurant when I was home for a visit. Over fifteen years had passed and when she saw me, she smiled. She remembered me. I was taken back to the fourth grade with her smile. I instantly felt like she still cared about me. We chatted briefly and once we got into the car, I cried. I cried because I hadn't told her how much she meant to me so many years ago or how I felt that she is the reason that I love to read and learn. She's the reason that I have now passed that same passion to my own children. Not a day goes by that I don't think about her and long to thank her. I've thanked God for Mrs. Mozingo so many times and I'm willing to bet that I'm not the only child that passed through her class that has done so. I will tell her. She's an amazing woman and she deserves to know what a difference she made.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Teachers

A few days ago, I got to the preschool to pick up the kids and realized that I was fifteen minutes early. I had a snack with me and a magazine so I figured I'd just enjoy those in the quietness of the car. After parking, I looked up to see that one of the classes was outside in the side lawn of the school eating their lunch on the grass. The weather was beautiful so what a wonderful treat for a bunch of energetic four year olds! Their teacher, Mrs. F, was sitting on the ground with them, also enjoying her lunch. After they were done, they packed up their lunch boxes and formed a circle to play "Duck, Duck, Goose" on the grass. Again, Mrs. F joined them, even sitting "Criss Cross Applesauce" just like the kids. As the second child took his place going around the circle patting heads, he came to Mrs. F and excitedly patted her head and yelled, "GOOSE!" Without so much as a flinch, Mrs. F hopped up and chased him around the circle and then took her turn as the head patter. Doesn't seem that strange to you? Some of the kids in this school have parents who were taught by Mrs. F. She's the age of the grandparents of her students. It warmed my heart to see a teacher, who by all means deserves to sit out a game of "Duck, Duck, Goose" and take a break from a long day with twelve preschoolers, take her place and enjoy the game.

I'm so thankful for the teachers that both of my kids have this year. Their preschool is fantastic and they both have teachers who sincerely love children and love teaching them. It has made the biggest difference in both of my little people this year. They love school and speak so sweetly of their teachers.

Preschool teachers deserve recognition in Heaven. They love on kids all day. They brush away tears, wipe noses and bottoms, read stories and encourage all day long...to people who don't always appreciate it. Or smell nice, for that matter. And, they didn't even give birth to them so the things they do really are out of kindness.

I have a post coming up on a teacher that changed my life. I can't wait to share her with you.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Updates and Such

So, it's been a while since I've update what is actually going on in the Little People house. First, let me say...it's December, right? Because with temps in the 70's, I'm starting to get confused! I see on Good Morning America that some people are actually getting winter weather and I both envy and pity those people. Of course, I do it while I sweat and consider digging out my summer clothes again.

Things here are moving relatively smoothly. Since it is December, I can officially say that Big Daddy is coming home next month! It's not soon enough for me but I'll take it! I've finished most of my Christmas shopping, with only a couple of small things left to buy. With traffic and the crowds of mean and scrooge-like people, I may just do that from the comfort of my chair. With some hot chocolate by my side, pretending that it's winter.

On another note, I have been racking my brain to figure out stuff to put in the box to send to Big Daddy for Christmas. I don't want to send much because he will have to turn around and ship it right back home since he won't have space to bring it back NEXT MONTH (sorry, had to throw that in there!) when he returns. But, I want to send something! I have ideas: hot chocolate with some yummy things to add in, homemade peppermint bark/almond toffee, listerine strips (he's a little addicted to them) and some pictures and art work from the kids. Any other ideas? Also, to totally swipe an idea from Michelle at Big Blueberry Eyes, if any of you want to send him a Christmas card to brighten his day, I'd be glad to share his address. Not to worry, it's just a box somewhere in TX and the military takes it from there so I'm not giving away any top secret information. I think getting a bunch of Christmas cards from you nice people just might make him smile!

Now, I think I will go get the kids up from their naps and let them play outside and enjoy this weather!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

What Can You Do?

Katherine over at Daring Young Mom has a post up today that spoke directly to my heart. There is flooding in Washington (where Katherine lives) and many people have lost everything they own just two weeks before Christmas. I'm sure at this point, Christmas is the last thing on their minds. Their homes and belongings are washed away by unrelenting flood waters. Katherine has several ways that you can help. Go and read what she has to say. She's seen this devastation firsthand and like her, I believe that people pull together and help each other when things like this happen.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

These Boots Are Made For Sleeping

A few days ago, Brother and I were out shopping and saw a pair of little boys cowboy boots. He begged for them and I caved and bought them. After all, he never asks for things like shoes and the mere thought that he may be the only male on the planet begging for a pair of shoes and enjoying shoe shopping, warmed my heart to the core. And, they were cheap cute.

When we came home, he immediately put the boots on and has had them on ever since. He allows me to take them off of him to dress him and bathe him. That's it. What's that? What about sleeping? Oh, he wears them. Don't tell me you don't sleep with your cowboy boots on.

Because they are so cheap cute, they don't bend very well so he walks like he's been riding a horse. I'm starting to put this whole cowboy picture together.

Last night, I wanted to take a picture of him with the boots on so I told him to stand still and smile because I wanted a picture of a real cowboy.

"I AM NOT A COWBOY!"

"But Brother, you have real cowboy boots so you look like a real cowboy!"

"No Mom, I look like PaPa." (My dad would be thrilled to know that Brother wants to look like him!)

At any rate, I now have to look for pajamas for the little guy that will match the boots. Because he's not taking them off any time soon.

Monday, December 3, 2007

I Love You More


I was recently contacted and asked to review a children's book,
I Love You More by Laura Duksta. I read the book to my kids the day it arrived and they loved it! This book is one of the sweetest books I've read. It's a flip book so on one side, you read from a mother's perspective to her child and then flip it over to read the child's perspective to his mother.

I love you longer than the longest lollipop ever lasted.
I love you louder than the loudest rocket ship ever blasted.
I love you taller than the tallest giraffe ever grown.
I love you more, so much more than you’ve ever known.


We have read it many, many times since it came in the mail and each time, I love it more. Pun totally intended! The book has sparked a new game in our house, the "I love you more!" game where when someone says "I love you" you must respond with "I love you more!" and then come up with your own little phrase to follow.

Not only is the book sweet, the story of the author really touched me. You can read more about her here.

The only complaint about this book came from Sister who was appalled that the child in the book was a boy, not a girl. Seriously, this is her complaint about everything lately from the person who checks us out at the grocery store to the local weather reporter. So, don't hold that against the book, ok?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sing a Little Song

Someone in our house made up the following little tune:

The Itsy Bitsy Spider climbed up Sister's back
Sniffed her on the neck
Then bit her on the crack


(She decided to add this last line)

Then he got smashed and never came back!

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Teacher Becomes the Student

The light turned from red to green. The car in front of me, the first in line, kept sitting still. She was busy eating and talking on her phone. She has no time for silly things like obeying traffic laws. Or not ticking me off. So, I say to her, "Lady! Go already! The light is green now get out of my way!"

Of course, she can't hear me. So, that makes it ok, right? Right?

It would except I have four small ears in the back seat.

Brother says, "Mom. You weren't very nice. You should say, 'Can you please move out of my way?' and that would be nice."

It took me a second for what he, in his almost three year old wisdom, had just said. When it caught on, my face flushed.

"You are right, Brother. I shouldn't have been mean. I'll be nicer next time, ok?"

So. He has been paying attention to my endless ramblings about manners recently! I'm not sure if that makes me feel better since he hasn't exactly been practicing it. But, he caught me and I had to own up to it. Just another step closer to my kids being smarter than me.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Conversations I'd Like to Avoid, Part 1

Sister: Mommy, the turkey that we will eat on Thanksgiving, will it have eyes?

Me: (looking for something shiny to distract her with) No way!

Sister: Good. What about a head?

Me: (still looking for that shiny object) No, honey. It won't have a head.

Sister: Well, what happened to it? Where does it go before we eat it?

Me: (Cursing the lack of shiny objects in our car) Well, the farmers that take care of the turkeys take it off after they um. Um. Hey, look! A bulldozer!!

Sister: Mommy, how do they kill the turkeys and take off their heads and eyes?

Me: (Thinking that we will forever after be vegetarians and crying a little on the inside because I used to really like turkey) Well, honey. I, um. I'm not really sure. But, are you excited about going school today? Do you think you'll be the line leader?

Seriously? I'm a little nervous about Thanksgiving now. I'm also a little grossed out.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Now She's Running From the Little People

We spent the day cleaning out Sister's room. I explained that if she wants new stuff for Christmas, she has to donate some of the old stuff to charity to make room for the new. She was resistant at first so I did what any Mom would do. I lied. I told her that it was perfectly fine if she didn't want to give away the old stuff, I'm sure that Santa wouldn't mind giving her new stuff to kids who don't have a lot. She took the bait and we worked our fingers to the bone today. Whatever that means.

Bless her heart, she was so eager in the beginning. We started with the toy bins that housed Little People (not the ones I gave birth to) and other toys she has long outgrown. She did awesome. We packed them away at lightening speed.

Then came the hard part. Sister is so attached to stuffed animals. Always has been. She loves every single one with all of her heart....and that's a lot of animals and a lot of heart. She tried to get rid of some but she couldn't. Until. She spied a stack in the corner that she's been longing to get rid of since the day they entered our house. She gladly grabbed them and tossed them into the basket to give away. My heart sank. I asked if she was sure and she gleefully said she was.

Actually, her words were, "Yes, I don't like them. I think they look really weird."

My heart sank a little more. Not the beloved Cabbage Patch Kids.

When the CPK made their comeback a couple of years back, I was thrilled. I was in love with the ones I had growing up and I couldn't wait to introduce Sister to her little Miranda Jean Jennifer Sue. Last year, I picked one that I thought looked the most like Sister and waited in excitement until she opened it. The excitement was all mine. She gave it a look and tossed it aside. Every time we have had a room clean up since, she has volunteered that doll (and the three others that well meaning friends from my generation gave to her) to head to Goodwill. I have talked her out of it every time.

I knew it would come today before we even started our cleaning up. I knew she'd try to toss those babies to the curb. I told myself that it is her room, her toys and she could make the choice. She made the choice and I let her do it. I'm sorry Miranda Jean Jennifer Sue. I'm sorry Xavier Roberts. I tried to carry on the legacy but you just look too weird.

**As I was looking up the link for Xavier Roberts on Wikipedia, I read that he actually called the CPK dolls, "Little People" when he first created them. Coincidence? I think not. So, I changed the title to reflect that Sister is in fact following in my footsteps in some ways.

Friday, November 9, 2007

There are good days and then there's.....

...the last few days. I've been trying to get my Christmas shopping done early this year and I've been moderately successful in this endeavor. All has been smooth sailing until earlier this week. I picked up some things from Sister's list while she was at school. When I got to the car to load the items, I started thinking about how happy they would make her on Christmas morning and it hit me. A feeling that I've grown so familiar with in the last few days. My heart speeds up. I get hot and sweaty. I feel a little dizzy. I can't control the sobs that escape my throat. It happens when I least expect it and I hate it. I hate it so much. I miss my husband. I can't bear the thought of spending Thanksgiving and Christmas without him. All alone. The kids and I will eat turkey for Thanksgiving alone. We will read the Christmas story and open their gifts alone. I can't think about it without dying a little on the inside. I think back to last Christmas when we went shopping for our tree (another feat that seems impossible without Big Daddy here) and once we got it loaded, I realized that one year from that moment, I would be without him. Trying to make it work with half of my team. I was so sad that day and I thought that surely nothing could top that feeling and that maybe if I got it all out then, it would somehow be easier when the actual time arose for him to be away. I was so, so wrong.

I am fine most days but I haven't had one of those days this week. Every single day has been hard at some point and I have ended the only two conversations I've had with him in tears. I am kicking myself for that because it's already hard enough for him without me sobbing like a child every short phone call we get. I want to throw a tantrum. I really do. It won't do me any good but it just might make me feel better. It may get out all of the tears and sadness so I can go on with this holiday season and this blog that is usually a fun outlet but suddenly has turned all sappy. For now, I'll settle for a little time to cry while the kids nap. Please don't misunderstand me. I don't want pity. I know I can do this and I will. But I need to just say it sometimes to someone who won't get in trouble for repeating it: This sucks.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Backwards Day


Alright, gracious readers, I need you. My kids have become obsessed with drawing/writing lately. Sister can go through a stack of papers in no time and each one will have beautiful drawings that are so special to her little four year old self. Each one of them means so much to her that if I suggest after the 768th one that maybe we give some to friends or throw them away after several days, she is distraught. Add this to the million art projects they bring home from preschool and church and we have ourselves a regular art studio.
My question for you is: What do you do with these masterpieces? I mean, really, they are all so cute and I'm not ungrateful that they love to draw but I'm afraid we will lose Brother under a mound of paper soon. How do you decide what to keep and what to toss? How do you store those you decide to keep? Do you display any in your home and how? My refrigerator has no more space to display any. I promise to name my next kid after you beautiful people who help me. Ok, probably not that but I'll be thankful! How's that?

(Also, if anyone can tell me what to do with Brother and his current lack of sleeping, I'd sing you a song. He's staying up until 11, talking to himself and then up by 6:30 and trying to skip nap. He's two. He's grouchy without sleep. I'm tired.)

Be sure to visit Shannon for more tips!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Oh Halloween, You Betrayed Me

Last year at Halloween, I bought a metric ton of candy because I knew there were so many kids in our neighborhood. All of those kids must have stopped by our house during the first 45 minutes of trick or treating, while we were out with our kids. We had every single piece, minus four, left over at the end of the night. Add that to the loot my kids brought home and we were eating Kit Kats and mini Twix bars until this past June.

I had a plan this year. We live on base now and usually, base housing gets inundated with fun little people in search of treats. But, I'm smart and realized that we live on the end of the last street on base before you get to office buildings so I didn't over do it. I bought two big bags of candy and tried to get ones that weren't full of stuff I loved. We sat out with our neighbors and I think when kids came by, they only took from either my bowl or theirs, but not both. We had a lot of candy left over. A LOT. Again, add this to what my kids brought home and we are left with way more candy than we started with. Not only that but now I suddenly like Butterfinger bars and have a deeper love for Kit Kats than I do for our pet fish. People. This is not good for my behind. I need to get rid of this candy. I can't very well throw it out. My conscious will get the best of me and all the thoughts of starving kids in Timbuktu will keep me up at night. I love nothing more than sleep (except maybe dark chocolate Twix...clearly, I need help) so I need another option. What in the world am I to do? I'll tell you this. Next year, I'm not buying candy to hand out. I'm taking my kids out in the very beginning of the night and then we're coming home and handing out what they've been given. Win, win.

My favorite part of the whole Halloween experience? At the first house we went to, we encountered some older kids and one of them had a scary costume on. My little Mickey Mouse (aka Brother) said, "Mama, he's not for real, right? He's just pretending?" I assured him that it was a kid dressed up like someone scary, not an actual monster with blood running down his face (as an aside: What gives? Why do 8 year olds need to look like they have been chopped to bits? Don't kids that age still like Power Rangers?) As they passed us again, Brother ran ahead a bit to catch up with them screaming, "Hey! Hey, kid! You don't scare me! You're just pretending!"

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Abandonment

I swear I haven't abandoned the blog. Have you ever accidentally taken a break from something and then found that it's really hard to get back in the swing of it? You may love it and think of it often but getting back to it is nearly impossible. Welcome to my relationship with the ol' blog. I love writing here, I really do! But, once Big Daddy left and I didn't post for a little bit, it just became one of those things where I would think all kinds of great things to blog and then would promptly forget them and realize when I sat down at the computer that I have nothing to say. So, it's not you, it's me. But, I'll tell you this. I am back with a vengeance. Whether I have something important to say or if I'm just telling you all the boring details of my day (no, really! I do have an exciting life! Who doesn't love to hear about the loading/unloading of the car, dishwasher, washing machine several times a day!?)

We're gearing up for the big day tomorrow. Sister gets to wear her costume to school for a little party and Brother gets to wear pajamas. Pajamas to school? His teacher must love me! Getting him dressed lately has been fun since he thinks it's hilarious to roll around in circles giggling while I try to wrangle his shirt over his head. And, tomorrow? I don't even have to bother. I love Halloween.

On another note, Brother learned a new trick that is catching me all sorts of funny looks from my friends and neighbors. When we are departing from someone's company, he will walk over to them, stick out his hand and say, "Hey buddy, slap me a hot one!" No one gets it. He wants you to give him five and do it hard so he can pull his hand back and blow on it and go, "Ow! Ow! That's hot!" Thanks Uncle Tommy. We owe you one. Anything else you'd like to teach my two year old?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Recently Heard at Our House

Brother was asked by a friend recently if he had fun at our local jumping place (big warehouse with lots of those blow up jumpers inside). He said that he had a lot of fun there. She asked, "Do you think I should go?" His response? "Not until you're a little boy."

****************************************************************

We were getting out of the car at home the other day and Sister was trying to get her seatbelt unbuckled. She was struggling so I opened her door to see if I could help. Exasperated, she looked up at me and said, "This thing is picking me off!"

For the record, we say "ticking" me off so I'm sure that was a derivitive. Kind of like when she's saying something silly and then says with a big grin, "I'm just cheesing!" (teasing!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hypothetically Speaking...

If you were a husband, about to leave home for several months, leaving behind a beautiful wife and mischievous sweet children, would you "forget" to tell said wife about setting a mouse trap behind the stove? Of course you wouldn't. Neither would anyone I know. I also don't know anyone who was away for the weekend and came home to a horrible smell in the house and spent countless hours minutes searching for the horrible smell only to find a dead mouse in a trap behind her stove. If I knew a woman like that, I'd tell her to run over to her super helpful neighbor's house at an unreasonable hour and beg him to come over and take care of it. Not that this would ever happen to anyone. But, I'm just saying that if it did, I'd be deeply disturbed and may not be able watch Tom & Jerry again without rooting for the cat. I'm just saying.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hey there Brace Face.....

My little Sister got her braces off today. This is a huge event for her! She's had them on for a couple of years and she has been the most diligent person I've ever seen at avoiding the foods that would snap a bracket or be too sticky. She's got more self control than I, that one. So, this weekend we are headed down to visit my family and we are throwing her a surprise party chock full of all of her favorite foods that she has been so disciplined to avoid for over two years. We're serving up corn on the cob, candy apples, cracker jacks, pecan pie, baby carrots and Air Heads candy. By the end of the night we'll either be all hopped up on sugar or sick. But, she'll be rewarded for her diligence and we'll all get to see her the happiest she's ever been. We've all even gotten her little gifts. This is going to make her day and I'm so excited to see her face when she gets all of the attention! I'm so excited to get there and see her! I've never had braces so if there's something that we've left off of the list that we should have for her, feel free to tell me!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Seasons Change....Right?

Just where is Fall? Did I rip off too many months from my calendar? Is it really still August? I'm so ready for fall weather!! It's been hot and humid here and that's just a crime for almost mid-October. The kids and I have been rebelling against this weather. We've huddled together every night for a week and had hot chocolate. We went to a hay ride and pumpkin painting contest. It can't hurt to pretend, right?

On another note, we are a month down in this deployment! You know what? It really stinks and I hate it. But you know what else? Time is flying by. We've been so busy and surrounded with so much love from friends, it went right by us.

Well, I need to go put on my jacket and gloves and get the kids to school. I don't care if the weather guy just said it was going to be close to 90 and humid here today. I want Fall and I'm going to get it. Either that or a heat stroke. I'll let you know which.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Mish Mash

So, I've been neglecting the blog lately. Don't think that means I'm not thinking about you guys all the time. As a matter of fact, I'm constantly composing blog posts in my head and I've had some great ones up there. But, then I sit in front of the computer and they get stuck in my head. I can't think of anything that matters enough to tell you guys about.

I could tell you about the fact that in the last week the following things have happened in the Little People house:
*I got a new windshield in the car....a rock broke the other one
*Sister went on her very first ever field trip (and after dropping her off, I cried like a baby...crazy!)
*While Sister was at said field trip, I had a blast hanging out with some of the other Moms from her class and left feeling less sad and more refreshed.
*Brother ate a leaf off of a tree in the front yard and spent the next 24 hours throwing up and being a real trooper through the whole thing.
*Sister was sick sick sick with allergies and it took me promising to name the next Little Person after the secretary at the clinic to get her an appt. (Thanks Tricare!)
*My Mom and Sister came for a quick visit.
*I got a new blog design! Please leave a comment and tell me how you like it! Also, if you saw the others that were up for a little bit each and then changed out, tell me what you thought of those.


So, all that gets stuck in my head and I can't think of how to make it funny. The thing is, most of the time when all of the crazy stuff happens, I find myself laughing it off and realizing that this is really a time of growth for Big Daddy and I. We are both growing in amazing ways and if that is the purpose of all of this, then I can't wait to see how I come out on the other side!

I'll be back to posting normally, I promise!

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Surprise of a Different Kind

**Special Message at the end!**

We took dinner to some friends tonight who just had their second baby, a beautiful baby girl. Sister loves babies. She has been asking for the longest time if she can have a baby sister and that desire seems to get stronger every time another friend has a baby.

As we were leaving their house after dropping of dinner, Sister sighed in the back seat.

"Mooooom, why can't you just have a baby?"

"Well, it takes a little while and we need to wait for Daddy to get back before we talk about that."

"Why?"

Starting to sweat, "Uh. Um. Uh. Because Daddy would be sad if he missed out on us getting a new baby." (Hey, she's only four and this is not the day to discuss this.)

After thinking for a moment, she got a genius idea.

"I think we should just surprise him! He likes surprises! He'd be so happy!"

No, sweetie. That's not the kind of surprise Daddies who have been away for a long time want to come home to. :)

**Let me just say, I have the best readers/friends in the whole world. You are all just the kind of friends I prayed that God would give me for these long months ahead. Thank you so much for your loving words. I'm encouraged and uplifted more than I can tell you!**

Saturday, September 22, 2007

We're Getting There

Kat asked me yesterday how we're doing with Big Daddy being gone and I realized I haven't said much about it really since he left. You know, except that post that I spit out in the midst of my sadness. We are two weeks in now and it is proving to drag by. Everyone said that the first two weeks would be the hardest and I'm counting on them to be right. The first weekend, I kept us so busy that I barely had time to think. I thought the people who said the first two weeks would be hard were wimps. Then, the first days of school came for both kids and I was S.A.D. Then, I got all spun up to host a little shindig here (read: obligatory military wife Pampered Chef party) and was so busy planning and getting the house ready for that that I didn't have time for sadness.

Then, it was all over and the house was clean and quiet. Then, I had a rock hit the windshield of the car while I was driving with the kids and in addition to scaring us all to death, cracked the windshield in a mighty way. That was all yesterday. Once the kids went down for nap, I pretty much hit rock bottom. I was praying with all my might, telling God that I just don't think I can do this without Big Daddy. I miss him so much that my insides ache when I think of him. We haven't been able to talk as much as I thought we would and email "conversations" can be tricky with the time difference. I know, it could be worse. His deployment could be longer. He could be in a much more dangerous place. None of that makes me feel better in the moments that I just want to hold him.

I did get to talk to him yesterday afternoon and today is a new day. (A new day in which I cut the grass ALL.BY.MYSELF!!) So, to make a long story even longer, I'm Ok. I think, maybe, we'll get to the point where I don't cry when the kids are asleep and the house gets quiet...maybe. Truth be told, I've only had a couple of really hard days and yesterday was one of them. Thank you for asking, Kat....I hope I didn't make you wish you hadn't. :) I promise to all of my readers that I won't be whiny through this whole deployment. This is it. If everyone is right, two weeks have passed and I should be home free. Smooth sailing and happy posts from here on out. Ok, I can't promise that but I can promise not to whine all the time!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Brother's School Days

I know I'm late with this but ya'll, it's been one crazy week! We're all sick with allergy issues right now thanks to the change in weather but I'll suffer a stuffy head if it means cooler temps!

Anyway, Brother's first day was fabulous and he loved every second of it! When I picked him up, his teachers were giggling and telling me that they loved watching Brother dance. One said that she turned on the music and turned around to tell the kids that it was time to dance when she noticed Brother shaking his booty to the music with his eyes closed and hands in the air. I have no idea where he learned that move. Ahem.

The second day, when I came to pick him up, he was in the front of the line of kids, at the door ready to walk down the hall. I looked down at him and smiled and he met my smile with his "mean face". I asked why he was upset and he just hugged my leg and continued the grumpy look. His teacher speculated that it was probably because he was chosen to be line leader right before I came and now I was taking him away from his moment in the spotlight. I felt a little guilty but we had someplace to be so I just scooted out the door, holding brother in my arms. His little face was buried in my shoulder and I was trying to pry the details of his fun day out of him. He wasn't hearing it.

"I NEVER want to go to this school again!!"

"Brother, you love your school. Why don't you want to come back?"

"Because I don't like to line up. Lining up is not fun." All said with lips out like a duck and a very furrowed brow.

Apparently, he's over that because since Saturday, he's been asking if it was Wednesday yet so he can go back to school.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Back to School

Monday was Sister's first day back at pre-school. She was so excited!about!every!part! of the whole day! Picking out the first day outfit was a monumental affair and deciding on what she wanted in her lunch was of the greatest importance. Every detail was discussed and she was ready. She proudly climbed out of the car with a perma-smile and was ready to face the day. When I picked her up, she told me all about how wonderful her day was. She loves her new teacher and her class does all kinds of fun things. Her only complaint was that it didn't last long enough. Why did I come back so soon to pick her up? We only do half days, just like last year but apparently that's not enough for this year. Then she said that she spent most of the day talking to her new friend. Tanner. Hold on. I'm pretty sure that's a boy name. Last year, Sister wouldn't even discuss the boys in her class. If we are coming through the gate to get on base, she only wants to say hello if there's a female guard. She's so girly that her blood is pink when she scrapes her knees. And now? Her first friend for this year is a boy. Today the report was that she spent the whole time talking to her two new friends. Boy from Monday and another boy. I think the thing is that the girls in her class were mostly in the same class last year so they've already bonded which leaves her with the boys at her table. Oh boy (pun intended!) is this year shaping up to be different from last year.

Brother's first day was today. I'll have to report on that tomorrow. After my tears have dried.
I will tell you though that Sister is very concerned. Here's a conversation that happened between us a few days ago.

Sister: Mom, I am really worried and nervous.

Me: About what, sweetie?

Sister: About you.

Me: (Swinging head around from front seat) What? Why?

Sister: It's just that when Brother and Me are in school on Wednesdays and Fridays, you will be all alone and I'm afraid you won't have anything to do. What will you do, Mama? You'll be
all alone without us there. Will you be sad? (She's all about compassion.)

Me: I'm sure I'll be fine. Don't you worry about me. *Smiling at my big girl*

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pray for this Family

For quite a while, I've followed the blog of Amy Wilhoite, a young mother diagnosed with leukemia just over a year ago. I've never seen anyone face such a horrible disease with the grace and faith that Amy has. Amy passed away this afternoon and though I've never met her in real life, I feel like I've lost a friend. She's a young mom just like you and I. Her baby boy, Gary, is only 21 months old. If you have a moment to send up a prayer for this sweet family, I'm sure they'd appreciate it. If you don't know their story, browse her archives, I promise you'll be touched.

http://www.wilhoite.blogspot.com/

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Proof That Sentamentality Isn't My Gift

After Big Daddy left on Thursday night, I went up to get ready for bed. Seeing his clothes on top of the hamper from before his shower earlier in the evening, I had a thought. How sweet would it be if I wore his shirt to bed and that way I'd feel closer to him on his first night away? I am such a sweet and devoted wife. I slipped it on and got into bed with my book feeling all mushy about my genius ideas. The more I sat there trying to read, the more I was distracted. Finally, I got up and changed into my own shirt. Would have been a great idea if he hadn't mowed the lawn right before his shower....in that shirt.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

It is done.

For the next several months I won't be able to kiss Big Daddy. I won't be able to hold him, smell him, wait anxiously at the door for him to come home from work. There will be no nightly back rubs. There will be no goodnight kisses. My heart aches in a way that I can't explain. It could be worse, I know that. He will be back. It could be longer. Those things really don't help me feel less sad. I'm so incredibly proud of him for the job that he does. Yet, I'm so incredibly mad at the injustice of having to live without him.

I love you bigger than the world, Big Daddy. Come back home safe and soon. I can't wait to kiss you again.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Adventures at the Salon

If there is one thing I am well known for, it has to be waiting until the last minute to get an appointment to get my hair done. This wouldn't normally be an issue except that I have a stylist that everyone just loves and she's getting increasingly harder to get an appointment with at the last minute. Last week, I called because I was completely disgusted with my hair. It went from "Ooooh, your hair is really cute!" to "Geez woman, get to a stylist immediately!" overnight. When the sweet little receptionist couldn't book me until TWO WEEKS away, I panicked and asked that she get my stylist to give me a ring when she got a break. She did and worked me in because she's awesome.

The only problem with being worked in is that it takes quite a bit longer because you are essentially sharing a time slot with someone else and while your color sits, they get attention and vice versa. No problem. I brought my book and I was set.
When my timer rang that it was time for the color to be rinsed, R (my stylist) asked the New Young Hip Guy who is working there to rinse and shampoo me. He doesn't have a client base built yet so he was pretty much just hanging out. Let's point out right from the start that New Young Hip Guy looks exactly like Seth Green, of Austin Powers and Mad TV fame.



I'm ok with this, I like Seth Green. That is until Seth, who will from this point forward be known as Gorilla Hands, started ripping the foil out of my hair. I was gripping the side of the chair trying not to look like a wuss. After all, surely he's done this before, right? Finally, I start exaggerating (but only slightly) my head motions with each pull so it looks like he's yanking my head from my neck in a game of tug-o-war. He still doesn't catch on but he's finally got them all out and it's time for the shampoo. Whew. No harm can be done in a simple shampoo. Except. It can when Gorilla Hands is on the job. At one point, I had to look back to make sure he hadn't attached a weed whacker to my head because the boy was killing me. Not only that, he kept splashing water in my face. After a few more exaggerated moves to wipe down my soaked face, I started peeking around for the hidden camera. After all, Seth Green is a notorious prankster and is always ambushing people for a laugh. I'm certain this is really him and I'm now on TV and for sure that must mean that my services here today will be free.

To ease the pain coming from my scalp and the fear of drowning that's setting in as more water is on my face than in the sink, I am thinking of all the fabulous places this little prank can take me. I could be on Oprah. This could be my big break. She'll have me on and tell me what a good sport I was about the whole ordeal and give me a vacation and a makeover complete with a reunion with my favorite teacher from fourth grade, Mrs. Mozingo.

Wake up, Heather, your scalp is on fire and no one has a camera. Gorilla Hands has slapped on some gloss and forgotten me. As the pain starts seeping down into my lower extremities from the chemical concoction, I hear him ask my stylist how long he should let "that stuff" sit on my hair.

"Two minutes."

OH.MY.LAW. Two minutes was up twenty two minutes ago. He races over to me and starts rinsing with a fury that makes our previous encounter seem like a lovely fondling to my poor scalp. After this, he moves over to rinse someone next to me and as he's rinsing her, HE SPLASHES WATER ON MY FACE. From the next bowl. Are you kidding me, Seth? Where's the camera? Where's Oprah?

When my stylist came over to complete my 'do, I thanked her for returning. When she started my scalp massage and conditioning rinse, I begged her never to take her angelic gentle hands away from me. When she checked me out, I looked at the calendar and booked an appointment four weeks in advance. I've learned my lesson about getting worked in.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I Just Want To Watch The News

Last night, after I got ready for bed, I plopped down and turned on the TV for the 11:00 news, to check the weather for today. The screen says to me, "Temporarily Unavailable, try again later" so I hit the button to go to another channel. Same message. Try again to the news station that's just a step above being filmed in a basement by teenagers and still no go. I'm in panic mode. How will I know what the weather will be tomorrow? I try the weather channel. NOTHING. I switch to Fox News, and it works. CNN, that works too. I'm sure there is a conspiracy of some sort by the cable networks to make sure I can't find out the weather for tomorrow.

At this point, Big Daddy hears my groans over the sound of his tooth brushing and comes in to see what the problem is. I tell him my issue and he can't figure it out either. We decide to turn off the TV and sleep and just take our chances on the weather.

This morning, Big Daddy goes downstairs to let the dog out and it takes him a longer than usual time to come back.

Me: "What took so long?"
Him: "I had to let the dog out and yell at him."
Me: "WHAT? Why would you do that?"
Him: "Because he's the reason you couldn't watch the news last night. He chewed through the cable line that connects to our room. Don't worry, he only got through half of it so you'll still be able to watch all channels above 25 but no local stations."

Dang dog. That's ok. I did watch the weather tonight. For Alaska. Tomorrow I'm planning to wear a turtleneck and boots. I'll just have to improvise with my weather planning.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Slacker Mom, Part Deux

My original point (that I never got to) in the previous post was that I am admittedly a slacker mom by the standard set forth in the book. I'm ok with that. I do want my kids to be kids. I want them to run and play and just have no worries at their tender ages of 2 and 4. The preschool we selected for Sister last year focused on social skills and things like that first and then teaching them a little of the basics that a three year old should know afterwards. At the end of the year, one of the Moms wanted to put together a gift for the Teacher from the kids. She asked the rest of us to have our kids write their names and draw a picture to be included in the gift (it was a scrapbook). I was a little puzzled. Even at the end of the year, Sister was a couple of months shy of turning four. She couldn't write her name.

I asked the teacher at our end of year conference if it was something we should work on this summer so that she wasn't behind next year (that would be now) when school started. She assured me that there was no need to stress out and that most of the kids couldn't write their name yet in her class. I was a little reassured by that and thought little of it all summer. Sure, we've sat down with Sister a couple of times and let her try to copy my writing of her name on paper. She is a perfectionist and if it doesn't start out just right for her, she just throws in the towel and moves on to something else. I have no idea where she got that from. But, other than that, we've done no "work" over the summer. We've had play dates, we've gone to museums and the beach, we've done countless other fun activities but no practicing on the school work. I was hanging on to the reassurance I got from her teacher. Until last week.

We received a thank you note from a friend of Sister's for a birthday gift. Inside, she had not only signed her own name, she had written Sister's name across the top. She's the same age as Sister and I've always thought of her Mom as a fellow Slacker. I'm not sure why I let this bother me but I did. I thought about it and tried to rationalize that maybe I've been a little too slack in the academic skills department with my kids. After all, these are the kids they will be competing with in a few (ok, many) years for college scholarships. I'm not saying that my friend has been doing academic drills with her daughter. Quite the opposite, I think it's just something that her daughter has shown interest in and loves to do. Whereas, Sister would rather play games like "See how far your Brother can slide across the hardwood floor when you 'accidentally' put some water in his path" rather than learning to write her name and the names of her friends.

That whole thought process lasted for about thirty seconds and I realized that in the end it all evens out. By the time Sister is competing for college scholarships, writing her name will be an issue of the past. She's bright, funny, witty and smart. Why did I let those thoughts of doubt creep in and make me doubt what I've known all along is best for my kids? Because of all the hype, that's why. Well, no longer. I'm a Slacker Mom and I'm sticking to it. I'm making a shirt to wear as I take the kids to their first days of school. I'm going to set up a table at the PTA and recruit new members. I'm bringing back the notion of kids should just be kids. On the back of my shirt it will say "It All Evens Out in the End". I'm sure people will mistake that saying on the back of a Slacker Mom t-shirt to have something to do with the size of my rear, but I'll take one for the team and wear it anyway.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Slacker Mom

I recently finished the book, Confessions of a Slacker Mom by Muffy Mead-Ferro. A friend read it and passed it along to me with the promise that it's an easy read and I'd be able to identify. Don't worry, I wasn't offended. I have confessed my own Slacker Mom tendencies here before. For the most part, I really enjoyed this book. I, like the author, subscribe to the theory that some parents just need to chill out and let their kids be kids. Let them explore, let them play with pots, pans and paper towel tubes rather than the latest greatest battery eating toys. Don't get me wrong, we have our fair share of the battery eaters around here but I've stopped buying toys lately for my kids. They get so much from friends and family at holidays and birthdays that they haven't even noticed my slacking. I admit that my house looks like Toys R Us threw up in here most days. We're working on it.

The author also suggests that the whole age of having your kid compete to go to the best preschool that will prepare them for Ivy League before they are out of the womb is nothing short of ridiculous. And, that kids need to learn that there are natural consequences in life to our decisions. She's not suggesting that we not protect our kids from real danger but that they should learn at some point that there are consequences to stealing your Brother's favorite Lightening McQueen. In our house, that consequence is getting clobbered to the floor by Brother and having him refuse to let you up until you repent. I don't even need to intervene. Lesson learned on both parts.

The only thing I didn't like about the book (and it's a minor thing) is that the author repeatedly says that she wants her kids to be proud of the fact that she works outside of the home and she hopes that will empower her daughter to be a stronger woman. She also comments repeatedly that her nephew is very proud of his mother, who is an attorney, for what she does and she hopes that will effect the way he sees women. That's all fine and good but what about the other side of the coin? I stay home with my kids and I think that they will be equally as proud of their mom and the areas in which I excel. They will never doubt that I am a strong woman. As a matter of fact, with Big Daddy's job and the natural single parenting that gets passed along to me because of it, I believe that they will never be able to deny my strength or be proud of how hard I work to raise them. I think that the author didn't do enough to encourage the Mothers that don't "work" outside of the home. It just peeved me a little to read a book that I really liked but felt like in the end, it wasn't really giving me the props I deserve.

I think that the whole working moms/stay at home moms debate is ludicrous. I think we are all moms who desperately love our kids and would do anything for them. We want what is best for them and do our best to make sure that happens. Period. Why can't we all just agree that being a Mom in any form is hard but also the most rewarding thing we could possibly experience this side of Heaven.

At any rate, this is a good book and I recommend it but don't say you haven't been warned if you don't work outside of the home. By the way, I never did get to the whole point of the post so that will have to wait until tomorrow's post. I've rambled on too long now and if I keep going on and on, my Slacker Mom card will be revoked.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Trip in Numbers

15: Total number of hours in the car with my children

13: Number of hours in the car that those children were awake and fighting yelling playing rather than napping.

7,496: Number of times over the past several days I pleaded with my son to PLEASE walk faster than a snail's pace.

7,477: Times he couldn't hear me pleading because he was so far immersed into his own world of looking at leaves, rocks, dirt to bother with me.

5: Number of hours we spent walking around the zoo at a snail's pace, still not seeing all of the animals.

100: Degrees. At the zoo. For five hours. Enough said.

7: Trips to Starbucks.

4: Fantastic days spent with incredible friends, laughing until my face hurt.

2: 1 very happy dog + 1 very happy Sister to be reunited.

1: Happy Mommy to be home, about to sleep in her own bed.

24: Hours until Big Daddy gets home to sleep in that bed next to me.

I'm tempted to sleep until he gets here to make the time pass quicker. Wait a second. Back to reality. I'll be up with the sun because the kids will be so! happy! to be home with all of their toys and their dog again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Friends, Food & Fun

Whew! It's been quiet around my corner of blog land for a little bit, huh? I'm currently in NC (again!) visiting some friends and doing lots of fun things! Big Daddy is out of town for work this week so I loaded up the kidlets and headed out of town. We've been having the best time here and it's been the perfect distraction to missing Big Daddy!

We'll be back home in a couple of days and I'm sure I'll have stories to tell!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

I'm All For Bonding But This Is Ridiculous

Recently, Brother and Sister have been asking to share a room. It's only really come up at bed time when they are both splitting up for the day to their own rooms. We tried that once before and because of their opposite sleep habits (Brother is a really light sleeper!) it just didn't work. He would keep her up playing and then wake her up really early and by the second day, she ordered him back to his own room. Either she's very forgiving or her memory has failed her of this past experience.

With Big Daddy leaving soon for parts unknown, I had heard that sleeping in the same room could possibly help them cope with missing him. Then, there was an article in Parents magazine that made sharing a room sound like a wonderful bonding experience for siblings. I fell for it and presented the case to Big Daddy for the little people. He's pretty much up for anything so we gave it a try. Perfect timing too, since we picked up Brother's new mattress and bed this week. Could it be a sign that everything is fitting into place and they will co-habitate happily this time?

Not a chance. Bonding is one thing. Keeping each other up until way past Mommy's bed time by singing, dancing and laughing is another. Every single time I go in there to warn them of their impending separation, everything from Brother's bed is on the floor and he's dancing a jig in the middle of the bed. Sister, of course, is laying on her bed acting like she has no idea what is going on and she just woke up when I busted up in their crib. She's a good actress, that one. After three days of numerous warnings, second chances and every time ending with Brother back in his own room in the crib, I'm at the end of my rope. I'm not sure if this whole sharing a room thing is going to work for us and it makes me a little sad because I want them to bond. Not that they aren't bonding with all the hoopla going on until near midnight every night. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure sibling bonding gets any deeper than what I heard coming over the monitor tonight. Sister started a song and Brother joined in loudly. Their song of choice for this warm summer night? "Don't You Wish Your Boyfriend Was Short Like Me?" Bonding at it's finest.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

And the Winner is.....

Kat from JustaBeachKat ! Congrats girl! Email me your address and I'll get your gift card in the mail tomorrow!

runningfromthelittlepeople at gmail dot com

That was fun, we'll do it again some time :)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Go Heather, It's Your Birthday!

Oh yes, it's that time. I'm another year older today. BUT, that's not the best part. I'm another decade older. I'm the big three-o. I'm officially out of my twenties and back into the same age bracket on annoying forms as my husband. I remember when my mom and each of her sisters hit their thirty year, it was rough. They lamented about how they couldn't bid goodbye to their twenties. They were going to get wrinkles (GASP!) They bought all of the emergency equipment needed for the occasion: wrinkle cream, hair dye, chocolate. I thought they were an odd bunch. But not just for that reason. Then, last year, I re-connected with an friend from high school and she's a year older than me. She warned me that I was likely to fall apart when I hit my next birthday. She said she went into her fourth decade kicking and screaming and slathering on the Oil Of Olay. Well readers, let me tell you something. Not me. I'm embracing thirty. I love it. I feel like an official adult. I love that I've learned so much since I was twenty. So, thirty, here I am. Let's party together. We're stuck together for the next ten or so years so I hope you like me, chocolate and coffee. It's gonna be fun!

And, you don't even have to bring me a gift. As a matter of fact, I'm giving you a gift. Leave a comment here between now and tomorrow morning (8/7/07) at 9:00 eastern time and I'll do a random drawing. Winner gets a $20 gift card to my favorite place to treat myself: STARBUCKS! Just make sure if you leave a comment that I have a way to get in touch with you. I'll announce a winner tomorrow! Go, tell your friends and if you want cake, could you bring me a big slice also?

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Sleepy Time

I love a good nap. There's nothing like putting your pajamas back on in the middle of the day and climbing into bed, between sheets that are ice cold from the air conditioner blowing directly on them. It takes a serious napper to be willing to get back into jammies for a short respite from an otherwise hectic day. I'm willing to do it. Napping is my spiritual gift.

Every day, once the kids are down for their nap, I'm left with the huge decision: to nap or not to nap. On the one hand, I could get a lot done around the house while they sleep. On the other hand, a nap. In my bed. With my jammies on. Doesn't take a genius to figure out which hand wins on a fairly regular basis.

I have several friends who claim they just can't nap. Something about sleeping in the middle of the day doesn't appeal to them. I'm afraid I just don't get that. I love sleep like I love chocolate and most of you have been around long enough to know how deep that affection runs. I'm a person that can't survive without much sleep. I get irritable, cranky, ugly and I'm pretty sure I develop nervous ticks and a limp. Give me a good night's sleep and all is well in the morning. If there's a huge stress issue for me, I know that if I go to bed, it will seem less stressful when I wake up. Sleep cures all things for this girl. There's nothing in this world like getting to that drool on your pillow stage of euphoria where you are about to slip into dreamland. Seriously, if I realize that I have already started the drooling, I'm ecstatic because it means I'm so close to sleep that it's sure to happen. Don't even try to wake me up unless it is really important. I'll spare you the details of what happens when my drool stage is disturbed. Oh stop it, don't act like you don't drool. You know you do. Maybe not as much as me but surely everyone does it, right?

So, are you a napper? Or have you been reading this thinking I've lost my mind and may want to check in with a doctor to be treated for narcolepsy?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

What a Weekend!

Wow! Last we talked, I was all excited for Big Daddy's promotion and boy was it exciting! We had so much fun with it and it was a moving ceremony, to say the least. I'm still glowing with pride over all that he's accomplished and the many people who love him.
I've always said that I hate surprises. Always. Throughout childhood, my parents thought it was hilarious to take advantage of that and throw surprise parties for me just to watch me get angry and throw a temper tantrum. Big Daddy has never successfully surprised me because he's not a planner and I'm all into every detail imaginable so it's tough to get one over on me. But he did it. I've been whining for weeks that we weren't doing anything fun for my upcoming birthday and wah, wah, wah, he didn't seem to be planning anything. The day after his promotion (Saturday) he wanted to head over to the community center on base to play pool and ping pong with all of the guys since our good friends and family were here for the promotion. The plan was, boys would do that, girls would go shopping. Things were moving slower than usual in the house that morning so the kids and I weren't ready when he was but no big deal, the boys would head on out, girls would drop off Brother later when we were on our way to the mall.
As we were nearing time to leave, all of my girls here (read: Mom, BFF, Sisters) were dragging around. I hate to be late. Really. Sister #1 had to potty 12 times. BFF was text messaging her husband while laying on my bed lamenting about how tired she was (all while in conversation with me). Finally, I told her how rude it was that she was trying to text message her husband while carrying on a conversation with me. She blamed him. We finally get out the door (after every.single.one. of them had to go potty one more time).
Head over to the community center and all the guys were in playing pool. I dropped Brother's stuff, went to kiss Big Daddy goodbye and he said, "They have a great ballroom here! I was thinking that we could use it sometime for something fun." Great, great, great. There's shopping to be done, now bye and have fun.
"Can you come and look at it real quick?"
Rolling my eyes, I followed him. Open the door and there's stuff on the tables inside. I'm nothing if not bright so I observed, "There's something going on in here, we shouldn't go in." Not until I hear laughter do I realize that all of my friends and family were inside. It was a surprise birthday party for me. Early. I knew nothing of it. I still have no idea how he did it but it was the most fun I've had in a while and I didn't even mind that I didn't know about it in advance. He even made a video to be shown with pictures of me and other fun stuff. He even included the Job Description I posted here a long time ago. That man thought of everything. And, he's been planning it for months. And, some of you knew about it and didn't breathe a word. Turns out I was being stalled back at the house until everything was all set up. Turns out Big Daddy thinks this is the hardest thing he's ever done and he almost caved and told me more than once. Turns out I'm so blessed to have great friends and family and they all make turning 30 next week seem like one big party.
The bigger surprise came later that day when Big Daddy told me that he'd arranged for my Mom to stay a few extra days so that we could head down to the Outer Banks, just the two of us. We've had so much fun I'm still reeling from all of it! Mom just left today and I'm not ready to stop this party. I'm looking forward to my birthday!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I love you, Big Daddy

Tomorrow is the big day. We have known about your promotion for a while now but it's here and it's real. I am so proud of you. As I think back over our marriage, I am in awe of the things we've been allowed to see and do together. In a day where being in the military isn't viewed as a privilege by most, you hold your head high and continue touching lives and making a difference to those around you with such selflessness. You deserve this promotion. You have worked so hard and given so much of yourself these last nine years. You truly have people all over the world that love you. None as much as those that live in this house, but they all love you still.

I've thought a lot about what to say and what to give to you for your promotion. Nothing seems enough. In a few weeks, you will leave us to serve your country elsewhere. This promotion seems fitting enough right now as you prepare to leave. But I don't know how to say thank you. How do you tell the person most important to you that you are so very proud of what they do and how they never seem deterred from their positive outlook on everything? I want to hold on to you like Brother does when he's begging you not to leave for work and beg you not to go. I want to pitch a big fit and yell at your superiors and tell them that it's just not fair to make you leave me. But, as I'm about to sink to that level, I look at your eyes and realize that you need to do this. It's who you are. You love your job and you love to make a difference in people's lives. I love that about you.

Stand up there tomorrow and with your big grin, accept your new rank and allow all of us to show how proud we are of you. We're proud of your job, we're proud to call you Daddy, we're proud to call you Husband, Lover and Friend. My very best friend. Your kids adore you. I adore you. You make me a better person. Your attitude makes even the gloomiest of people brighten up and have hope. Congratulations, baby. You deserve this, because you're the Big Daddy.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Appointments, Shots and Needles! Oh MY!

Good grief. Today has been a doozy. Sister had her 4 year old check up today. We arrived and I filled out the questionnaire, which gets harder by the year, by the way. I had to ask her silly questions like "Can you say five, eight, three?" To which she would look at me like I must have lost my mind and say, "Five, eight, three", while rolling her eyes. I take it that the eye rolling wasn't mentioned because most kids her age can't do it and therefore, she must be a genius. The Dr. wasn't amused when I made that suggestion.

Toward the end of the appointment, the Doc tells me that Sister needs shots. I won't tell you how many or my reaction to him because I fear that I'd look like a bad parent and not so much a true polite southern lady. Wait, I said that while rolling my eyes, does that make me a genius?

We got over to get the shots and poor Sister was a champ through it and got the well deserved lollipop and glow in the dark band aids. Brother, upon seeing Sister receive her lollipop, decided the it'd be worth the pain.
"I want a shot."
She pulled his file and realized that he was due for one so he got one and the earned lollipop.

Later, I had an appointment of my own to attend. The Doc decided I needed to have some blood drawn down at the lab. I am nothing if not difficult so I kept my little problem to myself. The little problem that made the Red Cross write to me and ask that I stop donating blood. When I have blood drawn, I pass out. Cold. On the floor. Has been happening to me for almost 15 years now and no one can tell me why. I'm not afraid of needles or blood. I can't stop it from happening. It just does. So, after the tech blew out a vein and then fumbled for another, I debated telling her of my little issue. (I don't always tell them in advance because then they tend to think that I must be doing it on purpose by psyching myself up. Yes, please, I can't wait to pass out because it's not the utterly most humiliating experience ever. I love to do it so much, I frequently psyche myself up for it.) Not only that, when this happens, I feel like an idiot. People treat you like you must be the daintiest little whiny baby who can't handle the sight of needles. I'm not, I pinky swear.

Anyway, it happened. And, there was a whole to do about it. They paged someone and got a wheelchair and took me to a bed and wouldn't let me leave until my blood pressure went back up. Which it didn't. When I left, it was 90/50. The Doc actually suggested that I not take care of the kids on my own for the rest of the day. Pssshhht. As if.

So, we are a pretty bunch. Counting the band aids that Sister has for her scraped knee and bug bites and shots, she has 5. Brother has three. I took mine off so I just look like a heroin addict. Earlier, Sister wanted me to carry her down the stairs because her legs are too sore. I picked her up only to realize that my arms are extremely sore. Awesome.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Don't Eat the Apple Cake

I made an apple cake for dessert tonight. For the kids, of course. Not for me since I'm "dieting". We all had a slice after dinner and it was delicious. So I'm told by the children. Even with their begging for seconds, I forced them into the bath without more dessert, promising that there would be more for tomorrow. As I bathed them, I was thinking how tempting that darn apple cake was going to be sitting in the kitchen all day tomorrow and how I probably shouldn't have made it.

Fast forward, kids are in bed. Big Daddy is downstairs taking out trash and such while I check on Brother (first night in the crib with no rail...prayers appreciated!) I heard a huge crash downstairs and was positive the we'd been invaded by thugs. Since no gun fire followed, I finished up some things upstairs and forgot all about it.

I came down to load the laundry and Big Daddy was standing in the kitchen. He didn't look happy.

"Don't eat the apple cake."

Let's just end this without more detail that may incriminate the guilty. Apparently Sawyer and Big Daddy aren't on speaking terms for a while. Let's also say that Sawyer is on a bit of a sugar high. Let's also say that if we don't want the good dog to get things that he shouldn't have, we should put them higher than the stove top. Like on top of the refrigerator. Or the roof.

I'm not sure what to make of the fact that my dog is even in on the conspiracy to keep me dieting. Anyone want a puppy?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Please Slow Down

I think Brother is thisclose to meeting the woman of his dreams, marrying and having kids of his own. At least that's what my heart feels. As if this sudden interest in the potty wasn't enough, he's learned a new trick that's got me on the verge of panic.

He can climb out of his crib. Remember how I told you I was lazy on the potty training? I'm also a slacker on the moving out of the crib game. I have no desire to have Brother in a big bed. None. Everyone keeps saying that it's no big deal until he can crawl out of his crib...an act he's shown no interest in before. Until now. We were at my mother in law's house this weekend and his pack & play was parked beside of an arm chair. He learned to crawl over the side and into the chair. I was a little nervous but since there's no arm chair near his crib, I didn't lose any sleep.

But, his talent is endless. He can climb in and out at his own leisure without the arm chair. And, I'm not even allowed to help him with this new endeavor without screams of, "I DO IT MYSELF!"

What's a mom to do when in the span of three days her baby boy decides that he wants to use the potty, sleep in a big boy bed and get a tattoo? I'll tell you what. I'm refusing this whole growing up thing. It's not allowed in my house. I'm willing to make deals. If I let him get the tattoo, I wonder if he'll stay in diapers and in his crib and be my baby forever? What? The tattoo would say "Mom".

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It's Potty Time

I'll be the first to admit, I'm lazy at potty training. Sister practically trained herself. I just don't get all excited about it and figure they'll do it when they're ready. I have my own sob story about being potty trained too early because of an over eager mom but I'll spare you the details. Suffice to say, I don't think there's a magic age that my kids need to stop wearing diapers.

Brother has been a potty-o-phobe. I haven't even bothered trying with him, even though he's two and a half. Sister, on the other hand, has other ideas for him. She has been chasing him around for months telling him he needs to use the big potty. His response is to put his little hands over his face and run away screaming adamantly, "NO!!!!"

Imagine my surprise today when he tells Big Daddy that he needs to use the potty. He goes in and uses the potty. Of course, he had an audience. And, who do you think was front and center? Sister! His own personal potty cheerleader. He was so excited and when he was done, he got a treat. And, so did Sister.

Later tonight, he came back to the potty and wanted to try again. I let him and he couldn't go. I don't blame him. It's tough to concentrate on your potty duty when you have a good game of electronic Yahtzee going. He finished up and washed his hands and I took him in for a treat. I scoured the cabinet and could only come up with a package of Sixlets candy that have been in there forever. I opened and gave him two. He ate them and started crying and demanding more. I told him that he can get two more when he uses the potty again. You see where this is going. He went right back to the bathroom and perched back up on the throne. And, in just a minute, he was going!! He got two more Sixlets!

Sister came around and saw what was going on and went to the potty without a word. She came out with her hand out for Sixlets. I think I've figured out why she's so anxious for him to potty train. And, I think I've almost reached the point where my kids are smarter than me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

All About MEme

Crystal tagged me to do this Meme and since I'm an expert at me, I figured I'd play along.

1. I have large feet for a woman. I'm a size 10 now, used to be a 9-9.5 before having kids. Wanna explain that whole feet getting larger with childbirth thing? I sometimes tell people I'm a 9.5 because 10 sounds way more ginormous.

2. Secretly, I have always wanted to have a large family. With Big Daddy's job moving us every 2-3 years, not likely to happen though we do want more.

3. I know I've mentioned this before but it is really my meme and I can double up if I want. And, it's really a huge part of me. I love to cook. Especially baking. Also, I'm quite adept at taking whatever ingredients I have on hand and making a fabulous dish up from scratch.

4. I can't roll my tongue. And, I'm quite jealous of those who can. Only because everyone but me can do it. My dad-check. My brother-check. Sister-check. Big Daddy-check. They love to rub it in and laugh at my pitiful attempts.

5. I'm a coffee girl. LOVE the stuff. But, I'm also a little picky. If it's regular brewed coffee, I don't love most types made in restaurants or even other people's houses. If it's espresso based, I'm not as picky.

6. I'm still deciding if I like Sawyer, the new dog. There are times I like him, like when he's playing nicely with the kids or having fun with Big Daddy running around the house like a crazed mutt. Then, there are other times. Like when he's barking his face off at 7 am. Or following me around licking me constantly even when I yell for him to stop. Seriously dude, what is that?

7. I can't eat enough white grapes. I love them and eat more than a person should be allowed. At the grocery, I find the biggest bag possible and still need more the next week. Brother inherited this from me and will always pick grapes over anything else offered. Except chocolate. I have no idea where he gets that from. (Also, a little confused as to why we don't refer to them as green grapes.)

8. This is it. I'm a dumb movie addict. By dumb movies, I mean movies that are dumb. My all time favorite? Tommy Boy, hands down. RIP Chris Farley, you fat guy in a little coat.

Ok, enough about me. Let's talk about you. What do you think about me?
I kid, I kid. Seriously, I tag Sheri and Tina. Play along!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Sticky Situations and Hair Raising events

This morning, the kids were both playing so well with each other. They were sharing and getting along. It was a miracle at the Little People House. They decided to go upstairs and play, which they love to do, and I took the opportunity to mop the kitchen. As I'm mopping, I hear Brother crying. Drat, I knew it was too good to be true.

I went to the bottom of the stairs and called for him to meet me in the middle and tell me what's wrong. He approaches the top of the stairs with tears running down his cheeks. "Sister won't let me squeeze it." Huh?

It was then that I noticed that his hair was dripping wet and sticking up like Bart Simpson on a bad day.

"SISTER!! GET DOWN HERE!! What won't you let Brother squeeze?"

Sister approaches the top of the stairs and background music begins to play in my head. "Ooooh, oohh, we're halfway there, Oooh, Ooooh, we're living on a prayer...." Girl looked like she stepped right out of a Bon Jovi video circa 1987. We're talking big rockin' hair.

"It's your hairspray, Mom. I fixed our hair."

Yes you did, girl, yes you did. And High School Me would have been so proud. All I could do was stand there and giggle. And, of course, grab my camera to document. Today's flashback to the '80's brought to you by the Little People.

By the way, Tina, I totally thought of you while all of this was going on.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Rules are made to be Broken

**Updated below to add one more that I totally had a story for yet forgot to add! Thanks to the lovely Minivan speedracer for the reminder :)

Before I had kids, I was so smart. I knew exactly how to raise them according to every text book out there. As a matter of fact, I not only majored in education, I took enough psychology courses that I could tell you how detrimental your poor parenting skills were to your kids future. I made up all of these spectacular rules that I was sure to follow as soon as I reproduced. If I saw parents in restaurants or stores or even friends with kids, I'd mock their lack of parenting skills and assure anyone who'd listen that my rules would be followed to the letter the moment I became "Mom". THEN. Then, I had kids. Here's my list of rules and the realities that would bring tears to the eyes of 20 year old me.

Rule: No child of mine will ever have a pacifier. Parents who shove that thing in their kid's mouth are just being lazy and not paying enough attention to what their kid really needs.
Reality: After each kid used me for a pacifier, I was begging and promising ponies if they'd just take the dang binky. Even for a second.

Rule: No TV. Again, be a parent and use every single second of your day entertaining and feeding the young mind that you chose to bring into existence.
Reality: D-D-D-Dora, Dora the Explorer allows me to get a shower more often than days that start with T. Bring it on chica, and thanks for teaching my kids to say, "Ayudame!!" when they need me to do things for them. Or just to watch me giggle.

Rule: Um, like, my kids will never taste sugar. No cookies, candy, cake and other junk food will ever pass their little lips because it's just not good for them and will only rot their teeth and make them hyper.
Reality: Anyone want to come to my house for juice boxes and fruit snacks? And look! I have cookies!! What kind shall I get for you? Sister likes Oreos, Brother prefers chocolate chip. BUT WAIT! That's not all! Step into my pantry of despair and pick any sugar laden item of your choice (many in your choice of annoying character!)

Rule: My kid will never ever throw a tantrum in public. He or she will be well versed in how to behave themselves and not annoy people who are just trying to enjoy a good restaurant/bookstore/shopping mall.
Reality: "Hey Sister, while you're rolling around on the floor like your clothes are on fire because I said you can't have another stuffed animal to add to the already existing zoo in your room, I'm just gonna head on over to Gap, join me when you're done, k?"

Rule: Eating food off the floor? Gross. Not my sweeties. That ten second rule thing is ridiculous and makes me want to gag.
Reality: Brother dropped his hot dog on the floor at our local favorite restaurant and without hesitation, I picked it up, wiped it off with a napkin and handed it back to him. Looking up, I caught the horrified glance of a woman whose designer duds with no visible dirty handprints were a sure sign that she doesn't yet have kids. You just wait honey, you'll get it one day.


Oh yes, oh yes. The things I have learned. Or forgotten. Which is it? I think I'll be adding to this list as time goes on because almost every day I think of something that I now allow my kids to do that I once swore would never happen. This parenting thing, it ain't for textbooks.

Feel free to add your own in the comments section!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

It's a Cupcake Kind of Day

So, I've mentioned before that I'm on Weight Watchers. How's that going, you ask? Well, hang on and let me swallow the chocolate covered graham cracker I'm working on and we can talk about it.

Today was a day to beat all. Up til lunchtime, it was grand. The kids and I snuggled in bed late and then played a few games after breakfast. For the life of me, I can't figure out how it all went downhill so quickly after that. Big Daddy was home for lunch and Sister asked if she could have dessert yet. We told her to finish the last bites of her food and her reply left us puzzled. She said, "Thank you sweet parents for guiding me in the right direction and caring so much for my dietary needs." Riiight. That was what I was hoping for. What I got was a daughter who rolled her eyes at me and then gave me the death glare. Ya'll keep in mind, she's four, not sixteen. When I told her that was inappropriate, she said, "I'm so sorry my sweet mommy, who gave suffered through hours of birth to bring me into this world. I'll forever grant you with only sweet glances of adoration from this day forward." Uh huh, I'm lying again. She hit the floor, screaming. WHAT.THE.HECK. There was no build up. Just all out screaming. We tried to send her to her room and the screaming got worse. I'm pretty sure our neighbors called Child Protective Services. Not really, but I almost did.

After a very long drawn out battle with her, I come out of her room to find that Sawyer (the dog) had gotten frightened by her shrill screams. Wanna know what Sawyer does when he's afraid? He pees. That dog has urine that smells like a dang skunk. He peed on every.single.stair. all the way down. That's 16 steps from top to bottom and every one had a puddle on it. I'm so lucky and attentive that the only way I found out was because my sock landed in the middle of a puddle and soaked it up to the ankle. Love that dog. So glad we saved his little life from the horror of the SPCA.

My day got better and better from there. So, when Big Daddy got home, I handed the kids over to him and told him I was going out. I was already scheduled to have coffee with some girlfriends but I left two hours early for that to have some quiet time. On my way to coffee, I picked up cupcakes for the girls. I just figured if I'd had a Cupcake Kind of Day that they may have also. I was so right and they were ever so glad to have cupcakes. I'm so lucky to have girlfriends who get it when I just need cupcakes to make the day end on a better note. They made me laugh and by the time I left them, I felt like I'd had a pretty great day all along. Isn't that what girlfriends are for?

I have a few left over and ya'll come on over and share some with me. I'm guessing you may have had a Cupcake Kind of Day, too. Just don't tell my Weight Watchers leader or I'll deny I ever knew you.

Monday, July 2, 2007

I'd like to thank the Little People....

Oh.my.gosh. Ya'll!! I won an award! For this blog! Not only that, the wonderful, cute, funny as all heck person that nominated me is who I want to be when I grow up! Seriously, I love this! Especially when I click through who awarded it to her and who else she awarded and so on. These are fabulous women! Women that I read and laugh so hard that I almost pee. Want to see my trophy? Don't even think about stealing it because I'll hunt you down.



Now, I get to pass it on to five rockin' girls that I totally love. Ya'll go read them and tell them how much they rock! I'm passing it on to: Mommy Macchiato, Mom to the Screaming Masses, Enjoy the Journey, What Makes a Housewife Desperate (she just got back from a break!). I realize that is only four but as I was looking through my list of loved blogs, I see that most of them have a Rockin' Girl Tag already! Thanks again Sheri from My Minivan is Faster Than Yours.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Goodbye to a Wonderful Generation

The kids and I just returned from the funeral of my great uncle, the only male left of the thirteen children born to his mother. There are two aunts left to that group of siblings and their state of mind tells me it won't be long until we bid them goodbye as well.

It was very sad for me to say goodbye to Uncle Ronald. He was a quirky guy who never married, never had any children of his own. When I was growing up, I remember that he would come over to my Grandparents house at least three times a week at 5:00, the time my Grandmother always had dinner on the table. (He was my Grandfather's brother.) He'd pull into the driveway and she'd say something to the effect of, "There's Ronald! Always showing up right at dinner time!" He'd come in and act genuinely surprised that he'd shown up just in time for dinner and then take his place at the table. After we were done with the meal, he'd fall asleep on the couch for a few minutes and then head out to another family member's house just in time to catch dinner with them.

Many in our family spoke of his quirky behavior as an annoyance but I thought he hung the moon. Once, he came over and picked me up from my grandparent's house and took me to dinner and the circus. He acted as if it meant nothing to him but that he merely did it out of some obligation to be nice to me. I knew better. Under that tough exterior was a man who made sure I had every single Shirt Tales stuffed animal from Hardee's kid's meals once he saw how happy the one I got the night of the circus made me. He'd show up with one hiding behind his back that he knew I didn't have and when he'd pull it out and be met with my squeals and hugs, he'd shrug me off and like I was making a big deal out of nothing. But then I'd catch his grin and know in my heart that I'd made his day by being so grateful.

As I got older, he was known to be old and grouchy to the kids in our extended family. I loved him even so. In high school, he needed a place to stay and my parents took him in. I can't remember the circumstances but I swear to this day I think he was just lonely and the chaos of a house full of people was a comfort to him. He lived with my parents off and on throughout the years and even when not living there, he was a constant at the dinner table. He'd amuse all of us with stories about his life and the many, many dirty jokes he told.

He taught me all kinds of things. Some, I'm inclined not to share because it would make me blush. A sampling of things that I think I can share? He used to tell me to say, "One smart fella, he felt smart. Two smart fellas, they both felt smart. Three smart fellas, they all felt smart." Every.single.time. I'd mess it up. Still do. You have no idea how hard it was to type that without messing it up. Let me know how you do.

The big one that remained a joke between us until the day he died was a song he taught me. He would sing it with me and I loved it. The chorus went like this,
"If You See Kay, tell her I love her."
I would belt that out and no one ever said a word. Until. I was in high school and at a youth meeting. I started singing that song to myself and my pastor's wife was appalled. I still didn't get it. She explained and I called him the second I got home. You don't get it either? Just keep singing it until you do.

This whole thing has brought about so much emotion for me. My husband's grandfather is in poor health right now. He's in his late 80's and one of the most loving yet strong people I've ever known. My own Grandmother had open heart surgery last week and is already home and defying all odds given by the doctors. We lost my husband's father this past year in a horrible accident. I feel that a generation I love so dearly is dying.

I was the only child in our family for so long that I was a mini-adult and would rather have spent my time with grown-ups than kids. To this day, I'd rather sit in a room chatting with people born generations ahead of me than to sit with my own peers. I'm sad that I'm losing them. When they are all gone, who will be the hard workers, the ones who know what it's like to work so hard and with such loyalty for your entire lives and not care that you'll never be wealthy because of it? When they are all gone, who will wear suits and ties to church? Who will be willing to pass down the legacy of what a real family is to my kids? Who will tell stories, with tears in their eyes, of what it's like to fall in love and marry so young yet stay with the one person you have adored for so long until the day God parts you? Who? Is my generation ready to step up? I hope so because I want my kids to experience the relationships that I've cherished so much from the generation that seems to be leaving me behind. I want them to know the stories about where our family came from and how they struggled to get to where we are now. I need them to know.

Goodbye Uncle Ronald, and if you see Kay, tell her I love her.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Works for me Wednesday: Getting kids to clean


This week's WFMW came to me in a moment of genius yesterday. I was cleaning like a mad woman and needed to mop the dining room. As I pulled out the chairs from the dining room table, I realized that there was dust on the unused ones and crumbs on those we use regularly. Nice. Yeah, I've never claimed to be Merry Maids.
Anyway, clue to lightbulb over my head! Ding! I got two damp dish rags and handed one to each kid and said "Let's clean, guys!" They groaned until they realized that it didn't involve picking up toys. They happily took their wet rags and cleaned the chairs for me. THEN! They went around the house and did a little light dusting with those rags, without me even asking! I'll be doing this trick more often!

Head over the Shannon's place for more ideas that will work for you!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Help Wanted

Little People Classified

WANTED! Person must be willing to:

mop floors,
dust,
vacuum,
sweep,
wipe little noses and butts,
kiss countless boo-boos,
act as referee for WWE wrestling (except the wrestlers are smaller with less muscles....and meaner),
watch countless hours of Handy Manny and other various Spanish speaking cartoon characters,
yell at the dog,
tame the people jumping from furniture,
play ball (sometimes with no warning until the aforementioned ball hits you in the head), drink lots of coffee,
endure LOTS AND LOTS of laundry,
read 7, 685 books,
water flowers,
cook meals,
coax little people into eating said meals,
clean up after people after they don't eat said meals,
yell at the dog,
wipe more noses and butts,
check on neighbor who just gave birth to beautiful baby girl,
DON'T eat chocolate,
DON'T yell (it scares the little people),
replace batteries in 456 noisy toys that all decided to stop working on the same day

Salary: More kisses and hugs than you can imagine from two of the cutest little people you've ever laid eyes on, snuggles and smiles from those same LP, Kisses from the most Handsome Big Daddy on the planet, sloppy licks from a cute puppy, occasionally a nap when the LP decide they're tired.

Sound like a job you're interested in? Well, too bad! It's taken. This is my job and I'm rather fond of it. Also, this is a list of things I need to do today so I'd best be off! Anything you want to add that's included in your job description?