Your Mom...

Somethin' for the Kiddies....

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Moments...

Yesterday was a challenging one for me with Lucy. I feel semi-guilty saying that, since I had a sitter for 4 hours of the day. However, from 2 p.m. through the rest of the day (minus one glorious walk together), she pretty much was driving me crazy. The whining has begun....ooohhhh the whining. It's like nails on a chalkboard. It is hard to ignore but I am finding it is the most effective technique. That and a lot of deep breathing on my part.
The other constant challenge I have is that on some days, she just can't cope with her life after 5 p.m. She needs a little nap each day from about 3-4 p.m. but refuses to take it. Some days she is great until 7:30 p.m. Other days, you can almost see her poor little brain shutting down and she emotionally cannot cope with anything (i.e. her hairtie fell out, she has to go potty, she turned left too fast).
But despite the tough days, there have been some great moments together, as well.
The other morning I was cleaning the bathroom and she really wanted to help me. It would have been easier to just hurry up and clean, but I let her have her own "wipey" and I would spray areas she could work on with me. At the end I told her, "thanks for helping me!" and she replied, "We did it together, Mom!" and then hugged my leg so tight for 60 seconds in pure joy. O.k...totally worth it. Who knew she would love helping me clean so much? I can't wait to tell her that story at age 14 when she won't make her bed...
Then, the other night at dinner, we were just sitting at the dining room table and she looked at me out of the blue and said, "You know what, Mom? I love you!"
Greatest moment #563.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tomma Tells It Like He Wants It!

Most afternoons this summer, after Tommy wakes up from his nap, we head outside for some pre-dinner outside fun. Sometimes I put Tommy in the stroller with a snack and, with Lucy on her bike, we make a round or two around the block.
Today, I was just going to let Tommy run around in the front yard with toys. The kid slept 3 hours this afternoon (after skipping the a.m. nap). Wowza!
As we headed to the garage, Tommy went to the car trunk and was pointing at it (where I keep the stroller). I asked, "Don't you want to play with toys?" and he gave me the sign for "eat."
"O.k. kid, we'll stroller around a bit with a snack!"
I was laughing inside....this was really the first time he told me what HE wanted, and it was not what I had planned at all. I mean, he has shown me what he wants by pointing and pushing things away - but this was a real milestone (or so I thought, anyway)!
He has been really saying a lot obsessions are "Dog" (or anything that looks remotely like one) and "Dora."
Oh my Tomma Shalomma! (side note: I have noticed the neighborhood kids are calling him "Tomma"...ha it...)

Friday, August 24, 2007

A Journey We Must All Take...

I have probably started and stopped this post in my head over 50 times. Since I have a daughter, I find that you almost have to go forward in your mind to the hell that is painful female adolescence. And then you just hope that it is as painless for your daughter as possible. will surely be painFUL, as they always are. And she will learn and grow and develop into the girl she is supposed to be in her wonderful life. What was most painful for me, Lucy?
It probably started in the 6th grade when I was in a friendship with two other girls. The other 2 were from public schools (transfered that year to my small, one hallway, parochial school). They were interesting and different than the other 29 kids I had been looking at for 6 years. We talked about things like when your period would start (mine had not, theirs had...intriguing...), who had kissed a boy (they both had...I was years away from that happening...more intrigue...), and what boy we wanted to "go with" (I thought that meant holding hands with Sidney Vanslyke during a film in religion class).
But then the girls would do mean things, like not include me in something, or not invite me to things. I used to cry and be sad and feel left out. And then they transfered again and we lost touch, but I always remembered they taught me about Teen Beat magazine and how to make out with a picture of Kirk Cameron.
And then there was 7th and 8th grade dances...and let me make note that these were held in the community room of our church with chaperones who would separate kids if they danced too close together. Well, sadly, I was not one of the cool kids being pulled apart. I was the sad one in the ladies bathroom, crying because it was 10:45 p.m. and my Dad was picking me up soon and no one had (yet again) asked me to dance because I was 5' 7" and taller than every boy in class.
High school was a turning point for me...while I was self-conscious, like every girl in school, I always felt pretty decent about myself. One thing that made all the difference for me: I was good at sports. And at my high school, if you were good at sports, you were pretty much in. I found my group of friends, I stayed away from the "crazy party crowd" and had fun eating at McDonalds and going to movies with the low key crowd. Oh pleeaassseee, Lucy, be into the low key crowd.
I could make people laugh and would use that to my advantage. I am sure people saw my sense of humor as possible high self-esteem. Maybe that's what it was...or maybe it was my defense mechanism if I felt self-conscious. I pretty much did the things I enjoyed and thought were fun, despite what was cool or uncool. I never thought I was a glamour queen, but felt good about my body in relation to playing sports, etc. Who needed a string bean to "box out" 6 foot girls under the rim, I ask you? My booty was put to good use!!
College was more of the same. Until Junior year, when I left the dorms, turned 21 years old and didn't know how to cook a single item. By Christmas, I had gained (literally) 40 pounds in one semester and couldn't squeeze into my size 14 jeans anymore. I remember the day and pulling the jeans up my thigh, even as I type this. I remember thinking, hmmm...I guess I have gained some weight. I better work on that. That was literally THE moment I became body conscious and started looking at myself as "a fat girl."
Looking back, I am so glad I had such great self-esteem growing up. I am so glad I didn't start to feel bad about myself until age 21. I'm not sure how I avoided it, but I can only wish that Lucy feels good about herself all those years. God knows you hear stories now about girls calling themselves "fat" at age 8 and asking their moms to put them on diets. It's sickening, really.
How'd I lose the weight, you ask? Left college, moved to Chicago. Had no money and no car. Walked everywhere and ate when I was hungry. Lost 60 lbs. in about a year. It took a while but it has stayed off for almost 11 years, and I lost more along the way.
Since losing the weight, I would say I definately have great self-esteem. My motto is: everything in moderation and if you always keep moving, you will look and feel great. This has remained true for me all these years.
So how will I help my kids with this situation? I will teach them how to cook, and we will eat healthy meals at our house. We will be active and I will show them, by example, how exercise can be a fun part of daily life. And of course, I will love it if they are into sports - because I really feel like it helps you in every way growing up (learning leadership, team-building, being healthy, self-esteem). AND - the most important of all - I will encourage them to do the things THEY are interested in and think are fun - not just what is "the cool thing to do."
So I'm not really sure if this post is about me or about what I want to do for my kids...just a story of my journey. A story I think Lucy, in particular, may find interesting someday. I hope her grown-up self is happy as a clam with herself and her life and has nothing but positive (or if not positive, at least funny) memories of that painful adolescent time that none of us would want to ever relive!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

First Time Moms at the Library....

Do you know what's been annoying me lately? First time moms at the library. I can say this...because I used to be one (sort of - minus the unfriendly part)! If any of you frequent your local library "Storytimes," you know what I am talking about. These moms are:
1. Showered.
2. Dressed perfectly.
3. Their one child is dressed perfectly.
4. Both sit on the floor and stare at you - no smiles.
5. The child doesn't act up or leave the parent's lap.
6. They sit quietly through the songs and stories.
7. Continue to stare and not smile at you while your older child asks questions during songs and your younger child runs around the room.
8. Refuse to smile when you crack one liners about how "there's a lot of sweating going on" and "obviously they are riveted by today's book."
9. Look at you with sweet relief when you decide to call it good and leave the "Storytime" room.
So yeah....I remember those days...and all I've gots to say is:
"Give it another 2 years, sister....oh you'll be sweating!! SWEATING, I SAY!"
Kidding...but not so much...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Face...

So, so proud!!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

It All Started Cause I Was Bored...

Lucy was 6 months old and I knew the winter would get long, so I asked my neighbor if she'd like to start a friday playgroup with her son and the little baby girl who lived behind them. That was almost 3 years ago. We slowly added acquaintances...who became friends, sounding boards, US Weekly discussers, breastfeeding chatterers, sleep deprivation analyzers, who's hot on Grey's Anatomy talkers...
And then we started running together, preschooling together, evening drinking together, and just generally becoming part of each other's lives.
It's hard to believe I've been back home from Colorado for over 5 years now. Having been a stay-at-home mom most of that time, I can't tell you how grateful I am for the friendships and connections I have made. In a nutshell, I guess I am proud of what we've created. What started as a way to fight the winter blues, has become a full-blown support system of great woman and fun kids that I get to call my friends. Happy Anniversary, crew! Preschool schedules may shake things up a bit this fall, but I know the friendships will last.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Damn You, Parents Magazine...You Push Me to Do STUFF...

Damn you, Parents Magazine. Here I was...thinking I was a pretty cool, creative mom. And then you go and make me feel inadequate with your latest fall issue. O.k. so I made myself feel inadequate by reading it and seeing all the ideas I haven't thought of myself. And then the Today show made me feel stressed out all morning with the Mattell recall of 900 toys. Oh thank god Lucy doesn't like Polly Pockets or Diego. But we did have a couple of the Elmo toys in our house. Yikes! To the trash they went, and one call to the pediatrician later...not so worried about it.
But you know what? A few things have been nagging at me...and this Parents magazine issue has propelled me to do a little more, work a little harder, and get my creative juices flowin'. I guess I just needed a "babysitter afternoon" and a little kick in the ass to make it happen...
1. Lucy is a movin' and a shakin' 3 year old and maybe needs to work her brain more. I don't think I was giving her enough credit. She's so damn smart (yeah, you can puke now) - she shocked me by writing her name on the chalkboard by just me telling her the letters. I mean, what do I really know is developmentally appropriate? But I thought it was impressive. So today at Michael's, I bought her a little Disney princess letter writing book. What the heck...if she's in the mood...guess we'll get going on it.
2. I've been meaning to get her age appropriate puzzles. I hear they are great at this age. I only had toddler-type puzzles and others for older kids. Michaels had GREAT 25 piece puzzles for only $3. Done!
3. To help with the whole "playdate thing" (aka not sharing and being naughty), I purchased some great $1 crafts that we can do together when a friend comes over. I think it will distract from the negative behavior and be a fun activity for both kids and I! I found the CUTEST $1 wooden stand-up dolls and bought fun feathers, balls, etc. that the girls can decorate their outfits with. Just call me Martha, I tell ya.
4. I've been feeling slightly guilty about what the kids are eating. In the grand scheme of things, they eat very healthy. We aren't a 100% organic family, by any means. But lots of whole grains, and weekly farmer's market fruit and veggies. But she has a couple popsicles a day. And I have been KNOWN to hit McDonalds after the beach/park on a busy sue me. And the dinners have been pretty lame lately. Cheese ravioli, anyone? So I bought some nice/new items that I was inspired by in Parents magazine. Ingredients for a great looking and simple paella recipe I think they'll like. And I'm going to start making new kinds of sandwiches for the kids. Cream cheese/ham rolls, broccoli/hummus, trail mix/peanut butter wraps, etc. I bought a few more organic items on sale (I am such a miser, it kills me) and am going to start clipping coupons and watching for sales more closely on those kinds of things.
Oh yeah...just one step closer to the uber-mom status...HA!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Shake, Rattle and Roll...

Every couple of weeks, God likes to hit me with a kick you in your a** kind of day. And today was that day, my friends.
It started out with a playdate for Lucy - a little girlfriend from her preschool. Lucy is struggling with sharing toys with girls her age, on her own turf. Interestingly, she's sweet as pie with 5 year old girls. With boys, she is just fine. It just seems to be girls she views as her "peer." She gets all "hell no" about her toys and likes to remind the girl, "You can't take that home."
"O.k. Lucy...they get it. Keep it moving."
It gets pretty frustrating and exhausting, to say the least. A few hours of lovely playtime later, I was pretty much ready to pull my hair out. The lovely "break" I expected while Tommy napped and the girls played gleefully in the basement um, never happened. So that left me whooped to begin with. Little did I know my day had just begun...
I get a call from Matt in a panic..."I'm driving to the hospital! My leg wound popped open and I am bleeding through my pants into the car!" To back up a bit, his water-skiing leg injury from the 4th of July vacation is still healing. The muscles are getting much, much stronger but the actual thigh wound didn't seem to want to heal. Until today, when it busted through and decided to relieve the a dramatic way. One hour later, I've got kids at the neighbors, a mother n law on her way over from the other side of the state, and I'm sitting in the surgical waiting room, waiting for Matt to get out of surgery.
When all is said and done, he is in great shape. They cleaned out the area, removed the wound completely, and he should heal and be moving on much more quickly. Just a bit more drama than I needed on a random Monday.
I have to say - I have learned to roll with the punches much more these days. Things are a bit unpredictable and nutty with kids in general, and if you throw in a few surprises, you just gotta roll. I didn't used to roll real well, but I'm getting better. It was a rough day for the entire household, but it's almost over. Oh, except for Tommy who loved every minute of the crazy day and exploring the neighbor's house. And now, at 8 p.m. I shall finally shower for the first time today. Ridiculous...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

My Little Boy...

O.k. here is the post where I gush about the Tomma Shomma. Boring, I know, but one day he'll read this and I want him to know what he was like at 17 months old.
The kid (80% of the time) is this laid back, go with the flow, wind up toy of energy and exploration. He is a HUGE sleeper (still two big naps a day) and when he's all go, go go!!!! He's all action and few words, but lots and lots of love. His favorite game is chase and his favorite activity is to turn pages of board books with anyone who will sit with him and point at things yelling, "BA!" and waiting for you to tell him what things are. He is getting really big - I noticed it this week in his car seat and stroller. All of a sudden his legs are longer and he just looks huge strapped in. Time just flies so fast...
This week, he has surprised me by saying, "Hi!" and "Apple." So just for the record, words he currently has are:
EL! for Elmo
And what appears to sound like, "What's this?" but comes out, "Whasshhdiiis?"
He continues to be a HUGE Mama's boy, which I love. Seriously, the boy is so in love with me it is ridic. I can calm him down when no one else can. I secretly love it...
Oh don't get me wrong...the dude gets MAD. He doesn't enjoy when things don't go his way and he will let you know. But for his age, I find him fairly low key.
So in conclusion, my Tomma is a Shollamma (makes no sense). I love his fluffy hair, his cheeks, and his chubby, suntanned feet. And that's all I have to say today.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Blog Buddies Meet!!!

Last week was a lucky one for me...why? Because I met my blog friend, Mama Z! She is as fun and fabulous as you might expect. Jack and Tommy had a ball together and we didn't even feel creepy as "internet friends!!" Now I am just sad we are many states's hard to really "click" with people these days and I feel like we'd be very good buds if we lived nearby each other...

As I was taking this, I was thinking, "I can't believe my blog friend is in my house!"

And here, the boys were thinking, "All we need is a beer and some Sports Center...we're two peas in a pod...." Tommy grabbing his junk?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Emotions of "Three"....

Lucy is struggling with the crazy emotions that go along with "the 3-year-old experience." She goes back and forth, practically hourly, between fighting for independence and wanting me very close by. Today was a perfect example of it. She was trying to play with "the big kids" on the street, but kept pausing for "3-year-old" moments along the way.
1. One neighbor had her hamster in her hands from across the street...Lucy yelled out, "Hey! I'll come see you because I have my pink exercise shoes on and I'm so fast!" (8-year-old girl pauses..."Umm...o.k.")
2. The 8-year-old girl and her friend across the street decided to "sell" their old toys to the "little girls" across the street. Lucy came to me and asked for "money to buy toys" so I threw a few pennies and a dime into a sandwich baggy and off she went. Back 10 minutes later..."the girls said they need more money!"
Ahhh...I'm on to them.
I gave her three more pennies and told her, "If the big girls want more money, you tell them you are just pretending to buy their toys."
Lucy and her little friend were back quickly...their sandwich baggies gone, and no toys in sight. But eagerly on to the next important summertime task at hand...discussing favorite popsicle flavors!
3. Later in the day, some kids on the street had "Blow Pop" suckers. Lucy really wanted one, but I explained that at our house, 3-year-olds aren't allowed to chew gum. She sobbed and sobbed...until her good little friend offered up her Barbie doll to play with and all was right with the world.
4. One minute, she's showing me her "tricky moves," like the splits and her arm muscles because she is "so big and strong!" The next minute, she's asking me "to hold her" through the grocery store and showering me with 50 kisses as I put her in her car seat.

She looked like a big girl today...something about her in her summer clothes and her tennis shoes. It was funny to see her run off with a friend to go play at their house. I cherish the fact that I'm not yet gearing up for school schedules/supplies this month. I am happy I stuck to my guns and have her only signed up for two days a week at preschool this year. She's changing and growing every day, but she still gets to be our baby for a while longer.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Summer Week List...

Going sort of listy my brain, many things are happening at once!

1. Tommy said "Hi" yesterday. And "Big Bird." adorable I could have died. He has been such a snuggler the past week, even more than usual. Sometimes he'll just lay on my lap or stroke my hair and hug me really tight. Lucy was not like this at 16 months so I find it a real treat. We all know in a few years, I will be the uncool one and he'll be following Dad around with his fishing pole, so I am taking all the hugs while I can get it!

2. Lucy did GREAT at her big girl birthday party! I got there early to watch and she was in her usual "shock and awe" mode. The other neighbor girl was so sweet and told her what to do and where to stand and what was coming next, so that really helped her (we are so lucky to have such sweet neighbor kids on our street). At the end, the girls were eating cake and watching the birthday girl open gifts. For some reason, the crowd was pretty low key and the other girls were quiet. But not my Lucy.
"You need help, Riley? You need help?"
"Want more cake, Riley?"
and if Riley said something funny...Lucy would pipe in with a "RILEY! hahaha!"
I liked that she and her little friend had their laughs among all the "la-dee-da" moms and girls.
I liked what I was seeing between the two of them...high self esteem!

3. We are having an ADULT party at our house on Saturday night! Matt and I have been wanting to have a summer party for about 3 years and it's just never happened. When we found out he wouldn't need the surgery on his leg, I thought, "This party must go on! We shall move forward with our summer!" And so we are...mexican fiesta here we come!

4. I have made a conscious effort to sllloooowww things down this week. I was starting to feel like it was just too much on-the-go and that the summer was really starting to feel "frenzied." And really, what is the point? It has been a nice, relaxing week of picnics, playing outside, sprinklers and just hanging out. It has brought back a lot of memories from summer days at my house growing up. Remembering things like the smells, popsicles, playing with neighbors, going to walks up to the store, and the things we would fill our long summer days with. I like that I can remember it all so well.

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I'm a 39 year old stay-at-home mom. I have a 9 year old daughter and a 7 year old son. I have lived in the big city and in the mountains, but am happy to be back in the Midwest, raising the fam. I enjoy laughing, wine, bad karaoke, US Weekly, running, cemetaries, cheese sticks and short hair-dos. In my previous life, I was class-clown and a wanna-be comedian. In my professional life, I'm a journalism major with 10 years of marketing and PR experience. I dream of being a cast member on Saturday Night Live and working at Disney World as Snow White.

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