Category Archives: Uncategorized

Happy Father’s Day

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The Hubs loves nothing more than being home and doing nothing. Truly, the man is an introvert at heart and our home really is his happy place. And….he really didn’t get to spend much time there this weekend. Yesterday the Bean had her first lacrosse tournament, so we were gone for 5+ hours and got home with enough time to relax for 45 minutes before heading to Scorch’s baseball game. Today, we had church and then an awards presentation during the 3rd inning of a 2 pm baseball game that we had to be at for Scorch. We managed to squeeze in some time at the pool and dinner with friends each night, but this was not a relaxing, laze at home weekend like the Hubs would have loved.

And part of me feels really badly about that since today is Father’s Day. But really- this weekend just encapsulates all the reasons the Hubs is such a good father. He shows up daily. He’s there for his kids as a coach, as a fan, and as a father as often as humanly possible. He may grumble and complain under his breath, but he’s there. The Hubs is the kid’s biggest supporter and they know he would do anything for them.

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My father was the same exactly way when we were growing up (minus the introvert part) and we were all the luckier for it.

So here’s to the dads that show up and support their kids no matter their passion. The dads who kiss booboos, change diapers and walk the floors at all hours of the night. The ones who learn more about what their kids love so they can play/learn/experience together. The ones who cheer the loudest at the wins and wipe away the tears after the losses. To the fathers like the Hubs and I were blessed enough to have growing up and to the amazing father my kids are lucky enough to have. Happy Father’s Day!

 

 

Love More

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Dear Kiddos-

It’s Wednesday and, on a national scale, this week has sucked. We’ve had the largest mass shooting in our nation this past weekend in Orlando as a man killed 49 people at a gay club. A singer was gunned down point blank in Orlando the night before the shooting. And today I woke up to the news that a 2 year old was snatched by an alligator from a Disney World resort.

The news this week has been full of sadness and grief and shock. Gun activists are fighting with those looking to restrict access to firearms and things are getting ugly. Close minded, ugly, small people are saying horrible things about gay people and Muslims. There are ideologies shared on Facebook that make me cringe.

Kidd0s- this exhausts me and scares me. I cry as I watch the mother’s of the victims mourn their babies- because our children are always our babies no matter how old they are. And I’m mad. I’m so damn angry at the hate and ignorance in this world. Which I realize doesn’t solve anything, but there it is.

But while this week has sucked on a national level, we’ve had a good week. You found out your new cousin is a girl! Baseball games have been won! Family dinner have been eaten! You’ve been on field trips and are so excited for the last day of school! Our life- our little, wonderful, miraculous life- is good. It’s more than good- it’s amazing. And I’m so thankful for that.

I’m at a loss on how to help on the larger scale. So I’m concentrating for right now on our lives. I’m not only focusing on raising you with all the love, acceptance and kindness in my heart- but I’m going to continue to focus on raising you to be respectful, kind and accepting in your hearts. I figure if all the mamas out there try to raise their kids with that same focus, the good will continue to win. Love with triumph in all is forms. And maybe, just maybe, this world will be a safer one for you, your loves and your children.

So, kiddos- love fiercely. Love without boundaries. Love with your whole heart.

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Because that is how we love you.

-Mom

National Best Friends Day

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Dear Kiddos-

Today is National Best Friends Day- which I didn’t know this was a thing. Did you know that it was a thing? Regardless, I’m a huge believer in the power of friendship and I will use any excuse to celebrate the lovely, amazing, accomplished women in my life. The lovely, amazing, accomplished women in your life because my friendship with these women are a part of who you are and are, I hope, a role model for you to base your friendships on.

I have some memories from my earlier years, but really most of my concrete, linear memories start in 5th grade. I had moved to the school district I was in when I was in 3rd grade and immediately met Marlana. From there, my friend group grew and shrank throughout elementary school, then middle and high school. But the core group- the main 10- pretty much stayed the same.

These are the women I literally grew up with – the ones that ohhh’d over my first bra, the ones who knew about all my crushes and didn’t laugh (too hard) at my bad perms. The friends I learned to swim next to when my front teeth were still to big for my mouth (aham*Scorch*). The friends what were with me when I had my first drink- and held my hair after. The friends that still text me when they go to the museum I got my first period at just to tell me they are in the place I “became a women.” They are the friends that drive for hours to celebrate your big milestones.  The friends that helped me become the person I am today by giving me the support, friendship, love, teasing and validation every child needs growing up.

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Last Day of 8th Grade.

There were fights- big and little ones- and ebbs and flows as we grew up, grew apart and then grew back together. But I could not have wished for a better group of friends to navigate the first part of my life with. I see you with your friends now and try to encourage you both towards the friends that I can think will end up making up your core group. The friends who will know you inside and out and love you still. The friends that you may not see for years but who you know will always be there. I wish passionately for friends like this for both of you.

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The gang, minus 3, this past Christmas.

During college and our years living in Washington, DC I made new friends- some of whom I’m still friends with now- but it wasn’t until I had you kids that I met my new tribe. These are the women who are helping raise you. The woman who have full permission to parent you as they see fit because they know you and love you and want nothing but good things for you. They are your friend’s mamas so you’ve never known anything but this big intertwined pile of love and friends.

These are the mamas that have celebrated your birthdays with you, seen you in almost every Halloween costume you’ve ever worn, watched you play all your sports and joined us for more playdates than I could count. They know all your secrets because the know all my secrets. They know when you’re being horrible because I’ve called at least one of them crying in frustration or fear or just sheer exhaustion.

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They make me laugh so hard I cry and make me feel normal about the crazy that is my life. They are the friends who commiserate with me when marriage gets hard and celebrate all the best things that happen to us because the genuinely love us. They are married to the men that kidnapped your father on his birthday- proving that good people attract the like.

I cannot imagine navigating the landmine that is adulthood without these women, their significant others and their children. The friendship that I have with them is the one you see day in and day out and that I hope you emulate. I pray that you see how we treat each other with respect and kindness – not cattiness and bickering.  I hope you see how friends should build you up, not break you down.

So, my kiddos, squeeze your current bestie because they may hold the title longer than you can imagine. Or they may not- and that’s OK too. You’re going to change and so are your friends. Find those that respect who you are, who you’re becoming and where you’re going. Find friends that make you a better person by sharing your interests and by challenging you to try new things. Don’t dismiss anyone based on their packaging- you’ll miss out.

Love you both,

Mom

Saying Goodbye

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It’s been a month. The Bean made her First Communion. Scorch turned 10. Last weekend the Bean and I went away with her Girl Scout troop. We camped in NJ and spent a day in NYC. It was a long, fantastic, exhausting weekend and I’m so very, very thankful I had that time with the Bean. And then, when I got home that day, I got a phone call telling me my Grandmother passed away.

My Grandmother was a central figure in my younger life. As a kid, I spent as many weekends as I could up there. She had dogs and cats and horses and acres and acres of land that we’d explore on foot and on horseback. She introduced me to wheat bread and water with lemon which sounds odd, but at the time was Big Deal. I had birthday parties at her house on the bank of her pond and I still remember how at home I felt in her home.

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I’ll never forget the day she explained the birds and the bees to me. We were mucking out her horse’s stall and she, being a nurse, explained the mechanics of sex to me in very frank, clear cut terms. I remember wanting to puke and telling her I was NEVER letting a boy do that to me. Ever. She laughed.

She opened up a shop on her property where she- a fabulous artist- sold her paintings, ceramics and other gifts. I worked there a lot of weekends when I was in elementary into middle school. She taught me how to tie bows, run a register and write invoices. She held painting classes throughout the year and would host a special one in Nov for myself and my cousins to make gifts for our parents.

My childhood was a very happy one for a lot of reasons- one of them being the relationship I had with my Grandmother.

So, Grandma- thank you for your love, support and encouragement. You’ll be greatly missed, but we’re all so very glad you’re safe and at peace now.

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Grandma with Baby Bean in 2008

 

Sibling Thoughts

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A few weeks ago I posted a picture of the kids on Instagram with a quiet plea that they are always as close of friends as they are now. 90% of the time, they are two peas in a pod. I don’t know if that’s due to their personalities or the fact that we don’t live in a neighborhood so they are each others only option, but they really are great friends.  The other 10% of the time, they are feral animals who can’t be in the same room as each other, but that’s normal right?

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When the Hubs and I thought about having a 3rd child – something we debated for a long time – the driving factor for me is that I wanted one of my kids to have a same-gender sibling. In my mind, the Bean having a sister or Scorch having a brother meant they would always have a best friend for life. I know it’s not that simple, but in my head, that’s the way it works. But neither one of us was ever on the 3rd child train at the same time and then time passed and we realized, quite frankly, that we had no desire to add a newborn/toddler back to a relatively peaceful life with big kids. So, these two are it.

And these two are getting so big so damn fast. So. Damn. Fast. One is turning 10 soon and one is turning 8. I read other mommy blogs and I realize that I can’t relate anymore. I don’t really  have picky eaters. I sleep most nights. My boobs have been my own for the past 6 years. I haven’t changed a diaper except by choice in over 5.5 years. There are still issues- and some of them are biggies as the kids get older- but no one really talks about this stage/age.

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Regardless of how old they get, my overwhelming urge to cement  the friendship between these two hasn’t. But no matter what I want, small changes are happening- a week ago the Bean decided that she wasn’t sleeping in Scorch’s room anymore. Girlfriend had been sleeping on his floor for 2 years every single night without fail. And then- BOOM- not any more. Which is fine- I mean, who wouldn’t rather sleep in a bed? But it still makes me sad.

Then this morning I found them both curled up on the Bean’s bed with their books and a cat a piece. I have to have faith that as they get older, they’ll figure out their relationship. It won’t always be as simple as it is now, but I have faith in them. So here’s to siblings that only have each other. Here’s to siblings that are soon going to have start figuring out stupid boy /girl stuff with each other and their friends. And here’s to parents praying they navigate the tween/teen years with enough finesse to keep their kid’s friendship growing.

 

 

Split Personality

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Homework time is never the happiest time in my house, but it’s far from the worst. The kids are usually good and pound the work out quickly so they can move on to the fun stuff. Tonight, Scorch had spelling. He did his homework by singing opera-style each word loudly (oh, so loudly) as he wrote it out. The longer the word, the longer he held that off-key note.  Bean finally retreated to her room and I gave up asking him to shush because there was no point. His terrible singing beat me into submission.

After he was done, he proceeded to yell loudly (always loudly) that he was DONE, YO! As he danced over to his backpack to put his homework away, he kept yelling. Who the hell knows what he was saying- I was deaf in one ear by that point. Loud yelling in joy, anger, happiness, sadness has been a theme with Scorch lately and it’s madding.

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When the homework was put away securely, I called him over to me and told him that he had to knock it off. We’re taking a short road trip soon and there is nothing the Hubs hates more than yelling from the kids while he’s driving. Seriously, he loathes it. So I told Scorch that if he yells like this in the car, “Daddy is going to pull over and leave you on the side of the road.”

Without missing a beat, Scorch replied: “Mom, come on. We all know Dad’s a police man. He’d not a law breaker, he’s a law abider.”

And that, my friends, is the split personality of a 9 year old boy.

9 year olds can gag and giggle through an explanation of menstruation, but can turn around 10 minutes later and have a serious, intelligent conversation about politics. They can shovel food in their mouths like feral dogs but show perfect manners when running into the parish priest at the grocery store. 9 year olds can devour huge books with ease but still pee their pants with laughter over a well told poop pun.

Scorch is awesome and maddening and frustrating and delightful – and I’m really hoping things aren’t quite as crazy when he’s 10.*

*hahahahhahaha. His insanity may come from me.

 

Award Winning

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I survived another round of a stomach bug in my house. This makes 3 times in the past 5 weeks and I didn’t even hide from my kids in the garage once. I’m clearly aiming for Mother of the Year.

Or at least I was until yesterday when Scorch yelled at me that I’m the Worst Mom EVVVVVERRRR!

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My crimes were plentiful:

  1. I Don’t Listen, Part 1: When my son prattled on and on for over 2 hours about how he wants to celebrate his birthday in 2 months complete with Googling and a full list of pros and cons of seeing a PG-13 movie that not everyone can go see and a PG movie everyone can, I’m supposed to hang on every word. (spoiler alert: I did not)
  2. I Don’t Listen, Part 2: When Scorch is told no to something (say, his request to start a new board game he doesn’t know how to play literally 5 minutes before bed), I’m supposed to stand there and listen to him try to convince me otherwise for as long as he feels like arguing. (spoiler alert: I did not)
  3. I Hurt Him: When play-dragging my son under his arms to his bed, he went limp on purpose, which caused me to trip over his sudden dead-weight and drop him from a distance of roughly 1 foot onto the ground onto his butt. According to Scorch, I’m the worst person ever because I “threw” him to the ground and hurt him.

Oh the drama, it runs deep and fierce in my son.

~*~*~*

Yesterday, I kept the Bean home from school to make sure she was entirely recovered from her stomach bug. She was at the weird spot where she felt 85% healthy, but wasn’t completely recovered yet. Basically this meant she was into everything because she was bored of laying around.  So she got into my book shelf and found the copy of The Care and Keeping of You that I bought earlier this year. The Care and Keeping Of You is a great book that outlines all the changes a girl will go through during puberty and discusses things like changes to her body, menstruation, dietary needs, personal hygiene, etc. It’s a great, great book (as is the boys version), but I wasn’t ready to show it to her just yet- I had it on hand for someday. I guess “someday” meant March 1.

The first page Beaner turned to was the one discussing the pros and cons of pads vs tampons. Because of course it was.

So that is why my daughter now knows all about what a period is and that some ladies stick things up their vaginas to soak up the blood. You’re welcome, fellow moms in her class!

 

Quiet

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A friend participates in a weekly Five Minute Friday writing exercise- where you’re given one word and you have five minutes to write about it. No editing, no second glances- just write. And this friend- her words are powerful and raw. She’s so much more poetic then I am and I love reading her thoughts.

So today I’m taking a page from her book and writing on the word “quiet.”

The quiet scares me, it always has. I rush to fill the void, to make the silence loud. When I was younger, quiet people made me nervous. Those people who can sit in a room with people they don’t know very well and not make small talk intimidate me. So I over compensate and talk about the most inane things just so there is something out there.

When the kids were itty bitty the silence made me nervous- were they breathing? In trouble? I’d rush in and put my hand under their nose to feel their sweet breath whoosh quietly in and out. And when they were toddlers? Well, silence meant trouble. Markers on the walls, kids climbing on the counters or eating something they shouldn’t have. Quiet made me start running faster than crashes and screams.

And now? Well, quiet is taking on a new feeling. Quiet means kids reading books for hours in their room. It means a peaceful daughter playing school in her room. It means exhaustion after a hard played game. It means enjoying different things- books, games, electronics- separately but together in a pile on the couch.

Before too awfully long quiet will mean the kids aren’t home any more- they are with friends or at college or on a trip. That quiet worries me too if I think too hard about it. So I don’t. Right now I just relish the quiet of 4 people content in their own space knowing that it won’t belong before someone is yelling, laughing or telling a story breaking that silence with the amazing noise that is family.

Running on Empty

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In order to go the gym first thing in the morning, I need at least 6 hours of sleep- preferably 7- to be a functioning, polite human being. It doesn’t seem like it would be hard to achieve, right? Last night I went to bed at 10 and set the alarm for 4:55 am. Ahhhh…6 hours and 55 minutes of glorious sleep. Heaven. I happily crawled into bed, spread out and was asleep within minutes.

Until 1:11 am.

Mom- I have a cold and I can’t fall back asleep. Can you come lay with me?

Poor Scorch- he has a nasty cold, so I dosed him up with meds and curled up in a ball at the foot of his bed using my robe as my blanket until he finally, finally fell asleep after waking me up at least 3 times to tell me he was still awake. Let me tell you how much I appreciated that. I finally was able to go to back to my bed at 2:15.

Alright, this isn’t too bad. I got 3 hours of sleep and now I can get 2 hours and 40 more minutes before the alarm is set to go off. Not 6 hours, but close enough that I can fake it for the day. Boom- I’m out again.

Until 3:01.

Mommy- I had a bad dream. Can you come sleep with me?

*sigh* Of course, Beaner is sleeping on Scorch’s floor, so I grab my trusty robe/blanket and head back into their shared room. I find a stray stuffed lion on the ground to use as my pillow and play dead, hoping like hell Bean will go back to sleep.

No dice- she wants the cat. So I get Maddie cat because, damn it, if I’m going to kept awake, so is my poor geriatric 14 year old cat. The three of us settle back on the floor while I pray we don’t wake Scorch back up. I spend the next 20 minutes trying to play dead, get the cat to stop licking my hair and willing the Bean to fall back asleep.  At 3:40, I’m back in my room.

I’m now down to 5 hours of sleep total for the night if no one bothers me until 4:55. I can do this. I’m determined to keep up my good work out routine.

Until 4:13.

Mom- I had the same dream again, you need to come back and sleep with me.

The good news is I was so tired when I went back to bed the last time that I just left my robe on, so I don’t even need to grab it. I do get my pillow though because a stuffed lion does not a comfy pillow make. Maddie cat evidently loves my pillow because she decides to sleep on it with me. Which makes the Bean cry because she wants the cat to sleep with her. Have you ever tried to make a 14 year old cat stay someplace she doesn’t want to in the wee hours of the morning while trying not to wake your sick son AND comforting your crying daughter? Try it, it’s fun.*

Everyone is FINALLY settled down and I get back to bed at 4:54 am. Hell. No. Just no. Screw the gym. I set the alarm for 6:40 and cry when it goes off. But, I dragged myself into the shower to start the day because I’m the freaking-fracking Mom and is that is what we DO. When it’s time to wake the kids for the day and they both whine about how tired they are, I resist the urge to pinch them.

But when the Hubs woke up and told me how well he slept,** I did murder him. He’ll be properly buried when the ground thaws. Say a prayer for his soul.

 

*This whole time they were awake/trying to fall asleep, I do admit to trying to memorize their perfect little faces. Hormones, PMS, who knows- all I know is that it seems like my kids are growing too big too fast and I know these annoying, horrible, exhausting nights are numbered and I’m going to miss their little selves so damn much.

**I tried to convince both children that they wanted their father to lay with them instead of me but they weren’t having it and I was too damn tired to fight.

Paging Miss. Hannigan

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I knew things were going too well- the kids adjusted back into school and the Hubs and I back into work without a fuss after the holidays. Which is odd. As great as the break was, none of us were that disappointed to get back to reality. Over break we some some great movies (the original Annie) and some OK movies (the latest Chipmunk movie)- both of which touched on the subject of being abandoned by biological parents, orphanages and adoption.

Friday night I had to work my second job. While I love both my jobs – this is my fun job where I get to tweet and talk to people on Facebook on behalf of a Fortune 15 company. I can do it from home and still cook dinner, put the kids to bed, or watch a movie with the Hubs 99% of the time. Of course, this past Friday was the 1% of the time where I had to train a new team member over the phone. I planned my night down to the minute so both kids were in bed 15 minutes before I had to get on the phone in the hopes that they’d have run out of excuses to get out of bed by the time the training starts.

I’ll give you a second to think about how well that went.

About 30 minutes after I put the kids to bed, the Bean came out of the bedroom, walked over to me and promptly burst into tears. I politely excused myself from my meeting, put myself on mute and asked the Bean what was going on.

You yelled at me yesterday, you yelled at me today and I know you’ll yell at me tomorrow*. So I know that means you’ll be taking me to the orphanage soon. Like maybe tomorrow. I don’t wannnnnntttt go go to the orphanage!

By this time, Scorch is trailing behind her laughing his butt off- “Bean, if they haven’t sent me yet, they won’t send you, so don’t worry.” (which is true).  I shoo him off and the Bean and I have a long talk about how the Hubs and I will always love her, that no matter what, she’ll never go to the orphanage and on and on. She calmed down, got lots of loving and went back to bed. And I, being the consummate professional that I am, went back to training, giggling to myself over the drama.

But all this week, the topic keeps coming up. We have even googled where the nearest orphanage is and if our town has one (it doesn’t). I keep having flash backs to when Scorch’s anxiety started – all over a freaking hairless cat in a movie he had seen before. Tonight we walked through a list of the worst things the Bean could think of that she could do and I assured her even if she did that times infinity, I’d still keep her.

And I will, forever- even if some of the things she came up with freaked me out a little!