I Just Want to Join the Gym

Well, I am back online! Woohoo! We are all moved into our new house and it is so decadent not to have to go outside to an outbuilding to do laundry. Okay, well let's be honest, Andy does the laundry so I guess...It is so nice not to feel guilty that Andy has to go outside into an outbuilding to do the laundry.

Today I joined the gym. A gym for me is like that short haircut that I promise to keep up and style everyday, but ultimately end up resenting. I am not at an age where skipping the gym is necessarily funny business...but this is my blog so here was my experience with joining the gym...

First of all, I want to go into the gym, have someone point out equipment and hand me a price sheet. That is all. You don't have to show me 3D images of a clogged artery. If I step foot in the gym...I'm most likely going to join. I don't need Timothy the ex Kia dealer and Kara the scary trainer woman with an accent of some kind to get me into a closed office, lower their voices and start off their pitch by telling me how scary the fitness assessment is going to be and that it will be really eye opening once I see for myself that I need to workout. Apparently, they thought I was in denial...and that I don't have a scale and a mirror at home. Also, they did not drag me out of an all-you-can-eat buffet with a chicken wing in my mouth and into a gym against my will. I walked into the gym to join. I get it. I need to workout.

Before I even got a tour or pricing, Kara tried to set up my assessment for the next day with Timothy speaking in soft soothing tones about someone he knew slipping into a coma and dying of diabetes. It was all very confusing...I felt like I'd been slipped a fitness Roofie. Finally I got my senses together and interrupted their two person one act intended to confuse by practically shouting,"WAIT." They both looked at me.

"I don't want a fitness assessment. I haven't even joined yet. I just want a tour and a price sheet. Let me join before you caliper my fat. " That is, after all, personal and something I only allow someone I'm paying $60/month to do to me.

Clearly I had ruined their flow.

Timothy told me that I was worrying too much about equipment and money. They were worrying about me as a whole. Yes, Timothy I'm sure you were more worried about me than my membership dollars or your quota. I could feel that as you were trying to sign me up for free personal training sessions and name a sandwich after me in the cafe before I signed anything or handed over my check card. I could feel your concern as you were trying to terrify a membership out of me by throwing out phrases like cardiovascular disease and death by obesity.

"Look," I explained. I just want to see the machines, the childcare and I NEED TO KNOW THE COST!

To which Timothy responded, "You can afford it."

I almost walked out. I just wanted to pay 'not an arm and a leg' and use a treadmill in peace a few times a week while my son was tucked away somewhere playing. I didn't care that Kara had trained some higher up at Monster.com.

I should mention that the opening monologue that Kara shared with me about her history as a trainer was about a client she had trained one day who refused to have his picture taken in a 'before' shot because he said he was being hunted by the people he confiscated hundreds of pounds of cocaine from (not making this up, people). When I asked her if she thought he was just kidding to get out of the photo, she replied in total seriousness that he told her all about Splenda and what was in it and what it did to your body and she added that people just don't know that kind of stuff. I did not further question the plausibility of this story from someone who was so worried about a "hit" that he refused inter-gym pictures but was fine with openly sharing his status with his trainer. Why would I? The man knew everything there is to know about Splenda. That's drug bust expert confidential info. Everyone knows that...or doesn't as the case may be.

Also, do I want to join a gym where there might be a shoot out? I'm thinking that I don't.

After I refused to schedule my assessment on the spot, Kara left the room and Timothy looked completely annoyed and bored with me. He walked me around the gym, looked at me every now and then and asked, "What else do you want to see?" I had driven off the lot with his sales pitch and he wanted me to sign up and go.

And sign up, I did. Why? It had a great facility and the price was right. I think I will have to low crawl past Timothy and Kara from now on, but it is a sacrifice I think I can make.

*Names were changed!

The Price of Peace of Mind...there is no number too great.

I feel terrible posting a blog about our trip to the ER tonight without informing any family members...but the short version is...Sam is fine.

Now for the long version...

Tonight, after returning home from Tiggy and Pop's house, we began our evening routine. Our evening routine includes about 20 minutes of potty time while we wait for something to happen. In the middle of these bathroom antics, Samuel sat on the ledge of the bathtub, fell backwards and hit the back of his head. The sound was loud. Samuel started to cry hysterically, and I screamed my head off. I was not the calm presence my son needed at that moment. I have never heard him cry like that and he's never had a knot that big. It was several moments of frantic and terrifying decision-making.

Because this story ended well, I can tell you that the few minutes of running around the house before getting into the car to go to the ER are somewhat comedic. It's that feeling like you should know what to grab to take with you but you don't. You feel the need to act in a quick thinking, rational way...but really you are trying to decide if the four extra seconds it takes to put back on your bra is, in fact, an act of selfishness that would take valuable response seconds away from your screaming child or is he going to be fine and you will be in the hospital painfully aware that you are without support (and not the emotional kind). I'm not gonna lie...it's a tough call.

I began to prioritize this way. "Okay, I can change from pajama pants into jeans, throw on shoes but only ones with no laces, and I have no idea where my jacket is." Unfortunately, the fleece pajama top covered in sledding polar bears that was never meant to be seen by other humans has to stay. I couldn't rationalize one more second of potential head swelling for me to complete an ER appropriate ensemble. Nope, the pediatric ER will have to see the fleece. On the way out the door, I grabbed a blanket. No one knows why you do this...but everyone does. Emergency rooms are filled with cumbersome "life-saving" blankets.

As we drove to the ER and Sam started to perk up I beat myself up for worrying about being partially in pajamas. It's an ER for crying out loud. Who has time to get dressed? Flash forward to the actual ER waiting room, however, and I quickly realized that we were there on the one day everyone had time to get fully dressed and bring in their sick, lethargic kids. It was a completely calm room of quiet children and fully dressed parents. Andy and I entered frantically with crazy hair and looking very, "ma in her kerchief and I in my cap," donning half of our pajamas. Andy had on his pajama pants. The worst part was the fact that Samuel was now laughing and reciting all the words to "Fox on the Run." I'm sure they were wondering why we didn't get fully dressed before bringing our well child into the ER.

On the way home tonight, Andy admitted that after we sat down and he realized Samuel was probably fine, he spent several minutes trying to determine if he even had underwear on under those pajama pants.

The waiting room, like I said, was filled with pitiful looking children laying on their mothers and whimpering quietly. Samuel chose to spend his time spinning around on his chair, screaming at the Little Mermaid to, "Watch Out," on the tv screen and trying to figure out how to get his hospital bracelet off his leg.

Ah, the hospital bracelet. A few minutes after arriving, we were called back to get the dreaded bracelet put on. A month ago, Samuel and I got into a wrestling match on the ground of a certain corn maze over the orange bracelet they wanted you to wear to tell what you paid to participate in...and I lost the match. So when the nurse looked at me and said she was going to put it on his leg, I wished her luck and did not volunteer to help. Three seconds, a fistfight and some screaming later, someone named 'Big Sam' was called in for back-up. My Sam continued to scream his head off. The waiting room must have thought Sam was having needles driven into his arms because we got sympathetic nods from the entire waiting room as we walked back to our seats. Nope, it was just the hospital bracelet. At one point, Sam told me - in so many words- to go find a doctor and tell him to take off the bracelet.

By the time we actually saw the doctor, we knew our child was fine. The goose egg on his head had reduced dramatically and Sam was saying things like, "Erryone...Erryone....Uh Oh, all the people disappeared," and waving to himself in the mirror on the ceiling that hides the security cameras. The doctor asked Sam what happened...Sam told him that he fell in the bathtub and bumped his head. The doctor asked him if he felt okay...Sam felt like that was the cue for this:

Five little pumpkins sittin' on a gate.
The first one said, "oh my it's getting late."
The second one said, "There are witches in the air."
The third one said, "But we don't care..."

Not only did he recite it, but he had apparently choreographed it at some point in the waiting room because there was an array of hand motions that neither Andy nor I had ever seen before. Through his laughter, the doctor said we were in the clear and left.

When Nurse Tracy came in to take some vital signs, Sam had this conversation with her:

Nurse: Ooh...what happened?
Sam: I fell in the bathtub and bumped my head.
Nurse: You fell in the bathtub and bumped your head?
Sam: Yes, right.
Nurse: Oh no, (pointing to her own head indicating for him to show her the bump) Where did you bump your head?
Sam: (pausing, to be sure she understood this time) In the bathtub.

I'm not sure when he had time to work up that "Who's on First?" bit, but let's just say the pediatric ER loved it when he played there.

Tonight, Sam had the time of his life. For a copay of $200, we received a popsicle, some stickers, and some much appreciated peace of mind. As we walked out of the ER in our half clothes, half pajama outfits, our superfluous blanket and a perfectly healthy child over our arm, Andy patted Sam on the back and said, "I'd gladly pay $200,000 for peace of mind any day."

Sam's mommy

Time to UPGRADE!

I thought I'd go ahead and update you on what is happening outside of the floral department of our local grocery store. This update is not as edge-of-your-seat or informative as the balloon post, but it'll have to do for now.

We are moving.

For one of the few times in my life, I will exit the school district that I am from and embark on a whole new journey. Yes, in two weeks, this household will pack our covered wagon, Andy and I will get in an epic fight over something like how to properly label a box and we will strike out into a whole new world...a few miles North of where we are now. Not far, I know, but technically we will even be in another county.

We really do have that spirit of adventure, don't we?

As we debated on whether or not to sacrifice the Holy Grail to us that is a normal commute to work, we decided that it would have to be what we gave up in order to get into something newer and bigger...and with a washer and dryer inside the house.

I used to laugh at people that moved there. Why would people sit in traffic and sacrifice sanity for granite counter tops and space? And by people, I mean those of us without 800K to spend on shelter. Forgive me...I knew not what I was saying. I get it now.

As Andy and I walked through the house-to-be, we made comments like, "Wow, it has a pantry..." "Look, there are two bathrooms where you can sit on the toilet AND shut the door (not possible in our current 2nd bathroom)..." and of course, "you mean you can use the microwave and the toaster at the SAME TIME without the lights going out? Unbelievable!"

We are not hard people to please.

I used to think that we lived in a house with character. We have character, after all. Who wants to live in a new house with no character? Flash forward to Dishwashergate 2010 when my dishes were in the bathtub for five days while my dishwasher was in the backyard and...*raising hand* I DO!

I feel as though I should stop right here and tell you that the neighborhood I live in is awesome for people who like projects. A lot of people have done a lot of great things with these wonderfully built homes. Andy and I are not project people. We don't work well together on fixing things up. We are home improvement pansies.

We have had a wonderful experience in this house, despite the fact that a big fear of mine was that my 86 year-old landlord with the naked lady tattoos on each leg would die in my crawl space one day and I'd be too afraid of bugs to go look for him.

Truthfully though, it will be sad to leave this vintage (and not in a good way) 1950's ranch with it's mysterious cracks in the walls and the perpetual feeling of being watched. Even though we did not own it (thank you, Lord), it was our first house. We were still newlyweds when we came here. This is where we were when Andy graduated from college. There were people in our lives who were living when we moved in and aren't as we are moving out. I brought my newborn baby boy home to this house and set him in his crib for the first time in the nursery that we painted blue. One day, we might even talk about this place, fondly (not anytime soon, though).

The good times and memories, we will certainly miss. The mismatched lighting fixtures on our ceiling fan, we will not.

We have decided to sellout for walk-in closets and a garden tub. And I'm really fine with being a sellout.

Sam's Mommy - we are movin' on up!

Please don't comment on where we live or where you think we are moving to. Message me on FB if you are curious...I'll probably post where we're going on there soon.

Intro to Balloon Handling

Did I really have the following conversation at the floral/balloon counter at our grocery store yesterday? Why, yes...yes I believe I did.

Me: Hi, I want to get that Thomas balloon as well as two other blue balloons and a yellow balloon to go with it.

I said this to a seemingly normal woman except for the lip liner that ran 1/4 inch above her natural lip/skin border. I don't want to rat anyone out, so we'll call her Denise.

Denise: Sure. Now, are you going to tie these balloons to something?

I hate when customer service involves quizzing me about my post purchase intentions. I've bought balloons before, just trust me.

Me: Oh, I don't know. They are just going in my house so I'll probably just let them go when I get in there.

Denise: Well, unless you tie them to something, they will go straight to the ceiling.

You don't say.

Me: Yes, I know. I have a low ceiling.

In my 1950's ranch house with no pantry and the washer and dryer outside in an outbuilding.

Denise: Is this for a child?

You mean the Thomas the Tank Engine balloon?

Me: Um...yes.

Denise: Well you should know that these balloons are made of latex. They are dangerous if a child swallows them.

Denise, I had my child in 2007. This was right at the time that every cough medicine for a child under the age of 4 was taken off the shelves, Jenny McCarthy had written books on Autism and vaccinations and the BPA scare was coming to light. I tied up all the pull cords on my blinds, baby proofed my entire home, front and backyard and got a magnifying glass to determine the batch number on our children's tylenol no less than four times in three years. I have read every book, magazine, pamphlet and cereal box factoid about every possible danger to my child. I laugh at you thinking I don't know that swallowed latex is harmful. I had a baby in the age of paranoid...go ahead and quiz me.

Me: Yes, I realize this.

Denise: (still not sure I can handle this purchase) Okay, here you go. (handing me my balloons) Now, you'll want to hold on to these because if you don't, they will float away.

Is there a helpline I can call if I forget any of this?

Me: Thanks.

Sorry I had to pick on Denise, but...geez. There are some purchases that I believe involve a conversation not unlike the one above. I think it's good to discuss electronics, cars and pharmaceutical purchases with the appropriate sales person or expert. These are helpful and necessary. There are other purchases, in my opinion, that one does not need to discuss. For instance, I don't need a consultation at Starbucks to discuss my latte, I really didn't need that woman at the drugstore a few months ago explaining to me that too much of the sugar free chocolate I was buying acted as a laxative and I certainly don't need Denise at the balloon counter assuming that I don't know how helium works.

Sam's Mommy
PS - We had a small family birthday party for Sam last night and tomorrow - he will be THREE! What a privilege it is to be entrusted with a child and what a reward to get to see them grow.

Strippers, Really?

Now that I have your attention.

All normal parents dread the day when their child repeats something that they've said that they shouldn't. We ALL fear this. No one is immune to the "please don't say that in public" conversation that goes way over your child's head and, let's face it, only makes you feel a little better after you've slipped up and your child is running through the house screaming "What's a baby daddy?"

Before I was a parent (in the golden age of sleeping past 7AM), I assumed it was always going to involve someone slipping up and saying a curse word. What else did I have to fear than uncapped road rage speak? I realize now, that THAT was the least of my problems. It has been EYE OPENING to me to see ALL of the words and phrases that infiltrate our child rearing bubble and make me cringe when I think of how it could be taken out of context if heard in bits and pieces or just flat out said at all. When I say infiltrate our child rearing bubble I actually mean all the crap I say in a given day (like the word crap).

MOST of the phrases have gone completely unnoticed by our child and I have crossed myself (even though I'm not Catholic) in thanksgiving every time we dodge that bullet. And just to clarify...I'm not talking about shocking talk. I'm talking about things used in conversation EVERYDAY. Like saying someone was stupid. Or in my case, since I work in sex education. Saying the word Chlamydia. Thank God that's hard to pronounce.

There are two things that are going to be wrong with what I'm about to say. (Well, you've already said strippers and Chlamydia, Rachel). The first part involves discovering a picture of a scantily clad blonde girl drawn on the hood of one of my son's Hot Wheels monster trucks. You know the cars that say, "For ages 3 and Up" and don't say, "For drunk fraternity brothers." You know the ones? Right. Okay so the 2nd part involved me showing it to my mother and exclaiming..."She looks like a stripper right there on the hood of my son's Hot Wheels. Can you believe that?"

No sooner had the words exited my mouth than my son turned to my mom and says, "She looks like a stripper, Nina."

Dear God,
What is there to say? I've done it again. Please please please don't let him say that about another kids' artwork in school one day. I don't want to have to go to a parent/teacher conference and explain why my son now knows the word, "stripper". Amen.

I spent the next ten minutes trying to use CIA/Men in Black type mind erasing methods by exclaiming that it looked like a "turtle" on the hood of the car. Or it looked like a "monkey" on the hood of the car in the hopes that I would confuse the word "stripper" right out of his vocabulary. It will work, he'll forget...for now...then one day, when I least expect it...that word will come back to haunt me like an unearthed scandal in a political campaign.

Until that day and that blog post...

Sam's Mommy

PS Just in case I do have to explain myself, I'll be blaming and writing a letter to Hot Wheels.

Potty Training + Moon Dough = What this post is about.

So a few months ago, I wrote a post about potty training. It was not a lie. We had technically started potty training. Okay, well when I say we had started potty training, what I meant was, I had bought all the equipment, books and rewards for potty training. Sam took one look at my gear and wanted no part of it.

It was the kind of potty training where he got really excited about the potty, but he wasn't sure why. Nor was I sure why. I'm also not sure why my Elmo training potty speaks mostly in Spanish. Every time Sam would push the Elmo head, it would say words I couldn't understand, and Sam would laugh and look at me. Truthfully, I feel like Elmo was making jokes at my expense.

So when I realized Sam wasn't really feelin' it. I stopped. Not only did I stop, but I stopped with the vow that I would not start again until he was old enough to where potty training would solely involve this one speech. "Now Sam, I'm not buying any more diapers. Here's a stool. Here's the potty. Cowboy up, son."

I'm starting to realize I might still have some naive parenting assumptions left in me yet.

So potty training was off the table. Sam put it back on the table by taking to the toilet one day like a pro. Not the wooden training potty. Not the CARS potty seat that fit securely on the toilet. Definitely not the Elmo training potty that is saying rude things about me in Spanish. He prefers the actual, free, potty. Who would have guessed?

So to make a long blog, short (yeah, right...like I'm done talking)...we are in the midst of potty training. I'm very proud of Sam. Sam is very proud of Sam. We are not done by any stretch of the imagination, but I am constantly surprised that the things I dread the most, are the ones that are never as hard as I thought they'd be. (Wait for crafty transition)

For instance: I dreaded the move to the toddler bed...it was really not that bad. I dreaded moving to solid foods and Sam going mobile...again, they happened and it was fine. Now, I had zero reservations about Moon Dough and yet, that stuff should be given to prisoners in lieu of solitary.

Let me just side bar here...or completely change topics. Someone on FB did warn me about Moon Dough, but, I seriously thought it was a different brand of Play-Doh...which I also hate but allow Sam to play with. It is soooo not that. I opened the box to find the "dough" in a bag and the texture of the dough to be not unlike the Astronaut ice cream that you buy at the Air and Space Museum (which only at 32 did I understand was not, in fact, the Aaron Space Museum...don't judge).

I took one look at it and was very confused. Was I supposed to add water? Maybe I needed to boil it down to an actual pliable material? No? This was the molding compound in its complete state? The word dough, in my opinion, is incredibly false advertising. It did not resemble any type of dough I'd ever seen.

Somewhere between the first encounter and bedtime, the moon dough got "lost".

Dear Moon Dough Executives:

I am a busy, working mom of a 3 year old. I used to be cute. I used to wear lipstick. I used to shave my legs regularly. I don't have time to dye my hair anymore. I roll my sleeves up to hide the fact that I wipe my kid's nose with them. I think the two steps it takes to make coffee in the morning, is one too many. I have no idea what's going on in the nation. I no longer care about starving children anywhere. Last week, I told my husband that I thought I was starting to resemble Marla Hootch from A League of Their Own and he laughed for two hours. Not a, "wow, my wife is so funny" laugh. It was more of a, "I was trying to figure out who you reminded me of" laugh. Something is up with the electricity in my house. Every time I turn on the microwave, the lights in the den flicker. I never remember to dust my ceiling fan until the dust is so thick it begins to fly off the blades. I'm tired. I'm perpetually behind schedule and I don't think I'll ever catch up. Your product makes my blood pressure rise. It makes my palms sweat. It makes me want to scream my head off. And you, Executives at Moon Dough, got my child hooked. Moon Dough makes him happy. It takes away his problems. It makes him forget. You are like the meth pusher of children's toys and my child is standing in front of me saying, "I'll only try this once...I'm not gonna end up like that guy." Meanwhile, this orange and pink like substance is ground into my carpet, discoloring my son's clothing and stuck under my fingernails forever. I wish you had at least made a substance that I could grasp with my fingertips...but I can't. It can't be picked up by the human hand. It infests my home like an Old Testament plague and I hate every one of you with every ungraspable fiber of your multi-colored Moon Dough that has taken up residence in my home. Thank you for adding one more thing to my life list of things to stress about.

Annoyed Consumer

Book Excerpts

Still working on the book...here are two excerpts for you presented with my loving husband's full permission.

Heard in the car coming home from a date one night…I'm not saying it was in my car, but...

Wife: “Do you like my hair short?”
Husband: “Sure”
Wife: “What color should I dye it next?”
Husband: “Why?”
Wife: “I’m just tired of it, you know?”
Husband: “Hair requires a lot of upkeep and effort.”
Wife’s thought bubble: “Huh?”


So what does he do when I scream, “BUG”? Well, if UGA is not playing at the time, he gets up, rolls his eyes at me, grabs a flimsy mailer and scrapes it off the wall.

Do you know what happens when you scrape a bug off the wall instead of hitting it as hard as you can with your shoe? It falls on the floor and runs behind the nearest piece of furniture. And it laughs at you the whole way. What does your big strong man then do? He looks at you and says, “Well, there you go.”

I’m sorry, there who goes? How did that help?

You did not just take care of the problem. I try to explain to him that now there is a live bug hiding in my house. I will spend the next two days sitting with my back not touching any of the furniture, never being barefoot, checking the ceiling corners, shaking out my shoes and looking under the covers because somewhere, someplace there is a non dead bug in my house…who now knows we are looking for him.

His retort has something to do with me smashing bugs until it looks like there’s been a shooting at our house.

Truthfully, I feel quite deceived that I unknowingly married a man who wouldn’t sit at the front door of our log cabin in the Minnesota territory with a shot gun across his lap, our dog Jack at his side in an all night vigil so that he can fend off the wolves from our land and keep the family and our chickens safe from harm while I prepare flapjacks on the cook stove and darn socks. By the way, please don't ask me what a flapjack is or what it means to darn.

One year, he was out mowing the lawn and edging around our patio when he came across the world’s smallest snake. Did he bludgeon it to death with a hoe like I would have preferred? Did he grab it by the tail and crack it like a whip in order to break its neck like my great grandfather used to do to Water Moccasins? No, he backed up, dropped the edger and left it there. I have not been in the backyard in 18 months. My son is really starting to resent me.

This Job Sure Ain't Glamorous

I used to think that motherhood would be the ultimate in fairy tale endings. I certainly NEVER thought I would sweat this much. I thought I'd have a baby, quit my job and spend my days wearing long patterned skirts, knit tops that never shrunk or faded, a jean jacket and frizz free hair sitting on a quilt in my manicured lawn that led up to my Pottery Barn decorated home sipping iced tea and looking for pictures in the clouds with my son. Or maybe I would be laying by the neighborhood pool in a two piece (which would mark the only time I owned a two piece) reading Danielle Steele and listening to my son splash in the water while my pot roast got perfectly succulent at home in the crock pot. Basically, I thought motherhood was a juice commercial. Oh and I pictured it as perpetually Autumn. Just thought I'd mention that.

I certainly never envisioned it as trying to take a shower at 1AM when Sam wakes up, comes into the bathroom and stands staring into the back of the shower screaming "get out" and trying to hand me my shirt, crying and shaking like he was just pulled out of the Atlantic after Titanic sunk. Nor did I picture me, trying to wash my hair, soap in my eyes, screaming back that he needed to go to bed and mommy wasn't drowning.

Alas, this was the scene Saturday night as I was racing around trying to get ready to go out of town for three days for work. Andy came home while this scene was playing out and it was grand to get to finish my shower with the entire family in the bathroom like it was some sort of Dr. Phil prescribed family time.

There I was trying to take the worlds fastest shower, my husband was comforting my traumatized son who was sobbing and muttering something about "Mama no shower," and I thought back to the times when I didn't have to craft a clever Ocean's 11 type scheme to score a few moments alone to groom.

Oh, the good old days.

Tonight, I tucked Sam into bed and we said our prayers:

Me: Now I lay me
Sam: Down to sleep
Me: I pray the Lord
Sam: My soul to keep
Me: Guide and watch me
Sam: Through the night
Me: Wake me with
Sam: the Morning light
Us: Amen
Me: Okay, good night.
Sam: (still praying) God bless Mama and Daddy, Nina and Papa, Tiggy and Pop
Me: Aww, how sweet
Sam: Help Nanny Coot to feel better
Me: He is going to be an evangelist...this kid can pray on his own.
Sam: And thank you for Aunt Nina
Me: Wonder if theres a box to check for genius prayer warriors on his chart. This is probably because he was formula fed.
Sam: Thank you for Samuel. Thank you for spaghetti and pizza.
Me: Okay...it's good to pray for things we love. God created everything.
Sam: God bless dinosaurs and bunny and dinosaur train and Scooby Doo
Me: He's being a bit of a Pharisee with this prayer.
Sam: Thank you for sky and birds and trains and cookies and sprinkles and mama's car. And Now I lay me down to sleep...
Me: Okay, he's looping back to the beginning...this is a Code Red, classic bedtime stall tactic. Good night Sam...God heard you the first time.

Sam's mommy

Facing My Fears

I am always impressed with all these children that sit contently in their strollers. My child NEVER used a stroller...EVER. I bought a nice Graco stroller on consignment. Well, okay, nice if you can get past the fact that someone's cat had peed on it. And can I get an Amen here that you can't get that smell out no matter how hard you try. Perhaps I could have spent more than $8 on it, but I didn't. I really did long to stroll places with my little boy while he laid back, enjoyed the ride and sipped his juice. He has never longed for this. He started walking a week before he turned 10 months. From that point on, he refused to be contained outside of the occasional shopping buggy.

Today we revisited the zoo. Two years ago, I attempted to take my newly walking 10 month old to the zoo. It was stressful, disasterous and way more money and trouble than it was worth. He refused to ride in his stroller, but he was not yet a good walker, but he was already a promising tantrum thrower. It was the type of day that gave you a migraine and made you go into a coma that evening. So bad were these memories, that after that when I saw any kind of signs, commercials or ads about the zoo, I immediately broke out into a sweat.

Today, I decided to get back on that horse, as they say. Sam and Mommy went to the zoo. It was 95% glorious and only 5% tired, opinionated toddler-ish. He was very interested in the animals, which is a breath of fresh air considering he's usually interested in doing the one thing, you could have done at home for no money (i.e. running, screaming and climbing on rocks). He loved the elephants and kangaroos and adored the petting zoo. We road the train which was the highlight of his day and although he loved the carousel, he was not interested in sitting on the backs of any of the animals. We were the ones sitting on the bench on the carousel talking about all the animals. It was a fun day. Of course, there were a few moments of differing opinions and we had to cut our day short with Uncle Chris and Aunt Jen who also happened to be there, but it was overall fun. I think I am reforming my zoo associations and the hives are down to a minimum.

I didn't get a lot of pictures today, and there is a reason for this. Some days, I take "moment capturing" burdens off of me and make sure I capture the experience and not just stress over pictures. So while I did pull my iphone out when I could, mostly, Sam and I walked hand in hand around the zoo enjoying our day.

Also, just so we can write this down on that dreaded chart...Sam is finally off the bottle! I was starting to feel like those women who brag about breastfeeding until their 5 year old self weens. (No offense...well, okay, there is no way that wasn't offensive so if you are nursing your 5 year old, perhaps this blog is not for you). Seriously, it was not as difficult as I thought, however, it did disrupt sleep for a few nights.

Now, I can also stop breaking out into a sweat at the pediatrician's office for fear they might find out about the deep dark bottle secret.

Other things are going on...too tired to go into them. I am over halfway through writing the book that I've always wanted to write. I'm very excited about it. It's a lot like my blog, only not really about motherhood...more about everything leading up to motherhood. So no chapters about how my birthplan was so short that I wrote it on a sticky note, but plenty of great stories from my childhood. It has been zapping a bit of my creative energy which is why the time between posts are getting longer and longer. I hope to tell you more about this soon!

Signing off,
Sam's mommy

The Mommy Monologues...I mean Soliloquies

I have always really been into drama. Surprising, I know.

The point is, when I was auditioning for things, they always required a prepared monologue or soliloquy. You might be wondering what the difference is (well, you probably don't care, but I don't really care that you don't care).

A monologue is a prepared speech said by one person to other people. A soliloquy is a prepared speech said by one person to NOBODY.

My life as a mom is one, never ending, never listened to, soliloquy.

Here are some of my Oscar winning moments...too bad no one was listening.

"Samuel! Samuel! SAMUEL!"

"Hey! Stop smearing my mascara all over the wall."

"Why did you just mash that gummy vitamin into my kneecap?"


"We don't use crayons on the microwave."

"No, you can't have a Kit Kat for breakfast."

"Stop pumping the soap over the ottoman."

"Don't you dare fling that Play-Doh at me!"

"What did you do with the remotes?"

"Get that (fill in the blank with anything disgusting) out of your mouth!"

"Have you ever heard of Ebay, Samuel? I could probably have you sold before I get caught."

"No, you can't wear the alligator shirt that you slept in to school."

"The toilet is not the same thing as the sink...wait, Is that my toothbrush?"

"Where did you get a lighter?"

I feel better knowing at least SOMEONE has heard me now.

Sam has started school for the year. Can you say, AMEN? I love my dear sweet boy SO SO MUCH, but the kid NEEDS school. He goes three half days to preschool and they teach him wonderful things about sharing and being patient and following directions. He must be a really good student, because he never comes home and practices any of these things which tells me, he's just a really fast learner and finishes all his work in class. I knew he was a genius.

They also give him some light reading to do.

Overall, I'm pretty excited about this school year.

Well, gotta get back in the kitchen with Chef Sam and see what trouble he's cooking up.

Sam's Mommy

Dog Days Go Away

Haven't heard from me in over a week? Well, I'm not going to lie to you, it's because I'm having anger management issues.

I’m fairly certain that this heat is, in fact, making me crazier than normal. At least that’s all I can figure. I actually yelled at two people at Kroger a few days ago. Yelled. That’s not how I was raised. I am a good Southern girl who never says that I think you are acting stupid to your face…I just status update about it later. Well, ring the church bells because I finally said it. In so many words I shared my “feelings” strongly to Gwen at the Customer Service Counter at the permanently-under-construction Kroger I go to and some random man waving a Western Union form in her face. In my defense…he did cut in line. When he did and I said, “HEY” seven times (loudly in his ear) and he pretended like he could fill out an entire Western Union form but couldn’t speak my language, I reminded Gwen that I had been standing there since Obama’s inauguration and she’d better wait on me because I was getting really close to selling my impatient two year old to the highest bidder (or just putting him in someone’s buggy when they weren’t looking). The balloon they had given him when we walked through the door had long since escaped to the ceiling and he was stacking Kit Kats on the candy aisle. Not that I really cared. It was when he ran over and began sucking on the packages of triple A batteries that I grudgingly intervened only to be reacquainted with Mr. Tantrum.

Gwen was appropriately condescending to me as she told the man to wait a second, helped me and then called me “mom” to get my attention. The man of course nodded in understanding to her request to wait because apparently Gwen is the Rosetta Stone of Kroger. I left there completely feeling like “that woman.” I got into my car and I burst into tears. I actually burst-ed. Ugh…

So, this does have me concerned. Yes, it is the dog days of summer. Yes, we are all hot and secretly dehydrated. Yes, if you type irritable, fatigued, sweating all the time and increased urge to cuss under your breath into the Web MD Symptom checker it claims you have IBS (of course I believe that is the fall back diagnosis for all diseases Web MD can’t figure out with the symptom checker). Whatever the reason for my lack of Zen, I have noticed the men in my house giving me extra space these days. I’m fairly certain that Samuel fixed a Lean Cuisine last night and put himself to bed while I was tearfully and angrily searching for the remote control and muttering to myself. I don’t know about everyone else, but I’ll be so glad to get out of this heat. Once you hit temperatures outside that are identical to the ones on the cans of biscuits in your refrigerator, it’s just too dang hot.

Hey, it ain't a pretty picture, but it's an honest one.

As We Close Out Year Six

Six and a half years ago, a young man, we'll call him Andy, gave a girl, we'll call Rachel, a box with a ring in it over dinner. He let her open the box before he looked deep into her eyes and said romantically, "let's do this."

I agreed. We were married. I blinked. It was six years later.

On Sunday, Andy and I will celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary. I would like to share with you some of the romantic conversations that continue to go on in our house.


Rachel: You know, couples have to work hard to keep their marriages together. Do you ever think about this?
Andy: No
Rachel: Why not?
Andy: Because I'm not going anywhere.
Rachel: That's so sweet.
Andy: Sweet? I finally convinced your family that I don't like mayonnaise. I don't want to start that argument over with a new family. It took six years.


Rachel: How's dinner?
Andy: It's fine.
Rachel: Good.
Rachel: Fine like, good? Like you like it?
Andy: Yeah, It's okay.
Rachel: Good
Rachel: Okay, like you want me to make it again?
Andy: Maybe
Rachel: Well you either do or you don't. Which is it?
Andy: Why?
Rachel: Honey, I want you to be honest with me. It's the only way I'm gonna know what to make and not make. Don't worry, I'm fine. I honestly just want to know if you like it. I won't get offended. I promise.
Andy: It's not my favorite.
Rachel: (getting up)
Andy: What's wrong?
Rachel: Nothing.
Andy: Come on...what is it?
Rachel: You don't like my cooking.


Here's to many more romantic conversations!
Andy's blissful bride

Coming to terms...

It's time to get some things off my chest, and let them go...

- My son is going to mix the pretty Play-Doh colors three seconds after the cans are first opened. He does not value the rainbow of color. His objective is to make a gray lump as soon as possible.

- I will never cook that box of spanish rice in my pantry. I'm not even sure why I bought it three years ago.

- I can never ever again go more than two months without dyeing my hair. EVER. It's no longer just a "fun makeover."

- I will never use up all of my cleaning supplies. Why? Because I don't like to clean...I only like to buy the supplies.

- Same concept as above, only insert scrapbooking supplies here.

- I'm too old to be on anything on MTV...by like ten years.

- The truth is...there will NEVER be another Beverly Hills 90210. It can't happen more than once in a lifetime. All the spandex, baby doll dresses and dark lipstick aligned like the perfect storm.

- I resent having to spend money on greeting cards.

- No one has EVER given me a good enough reason to not drink caffeine.

- I hate groups of teenagers. Individually, I take them on a case by case scenerio.

- The best part of Walgreens is the "As seen on t.v." aisle. And it has some useful stuff on that aisle.

- Current events don't elicit as much of a reaction as I would like for people to think. Truth be told, if it doesn't happen in my living room, I pretty much don't dwell on it.

- My husband and I are never going to agree on a temperature for our house.

- I am going to watch Girls Just want to Have Fun every time it comes on t.v. forevermore.

- I want you to tell me what I want to hear. There are no exceptions to this. The minute you start telling it "like it is"...I have no use for you.

- I'm never going to bust into a smoky night club while being chased by drug dealers and be asked to "sing the blues"...resulting in a performance of a spur of the moment, yet perfectly rhyming, song that brings the house down.

I'm a Webb too

Today I went to the funeral for my Uncle Everette. He was my grandfather's brother and 2nd oldest in the Webb family. He was 92. No one disagrees that is a good full life. I lost my grandfather 17 years ago. It's hard to believe.

I sat between my mom and dad in the church pew today with no Kleenex and no inkling that I would find this event the least bit emotional. This was a 92 year old man who was preceded in death by his spouse, parents and three brothers. Truth be told, I was quite excited for him. As the pastor read a letter written by my Cousin Denise (Everette's daughter), I found myself tearing up uncontrollably. She told a story about her father and Uncle Tom laughing at my grandfather as he was screaming like a girl and trying to get a rat out of his overalls when they were boys. It was a sweet story and one about my grandfather I had never heard. That was when the tears began, and I had to admit to myself that this funeral made me sadder than I realized. I was not sad about death and the prospect of heaven to be sure.

I was profoundly sad that things continue to change. I was sad that the full appreciation we have from people and events seems to only come full circle via nostalgia. When recreating those times is no longer possible, we wish we had savored them more. Perhaps I was sad because with four patriarchal Webbs and their spouses now gone, I fully understand that the better Webb reunion is now in heaven.

In a time when families are getting smaller and smaller. When the distance between those families seems to be getting greater and greater. There is an undeniable bond that glues the many Webbs together in love and closeness. I am always amazed by this. In 33 years of being at reunions, weddings, church events and funerals - the Webbs never cease to amaze me with their incredible sense of family.

There seems to be one common thread that runs through each of them. Some might say its the twinkle in the signature blue eyes. Others might think it's their unmatched ability to remain lighthearted in an oftentimes dark world. I would even argue that the Webbs all have the same easy-going laugh. Ultimately, I think no one who has had the pleasure to meet these great people would argue that their commitment to the Lord and to their families remains their greatest strength.

Those traits help on days like today. Days when you are celebrating the home going of one of your own. Days when you wish you could go back for just a few hours and savor the times with those we thought would never grow old enough to leave us. Days when you can't help but to get excited as you, once again, glimpse heaven's possibilities.

As we waited to walk into my Uncle Everette's funeral in a family procession that has, in times past, out numbered the attendees, I watched a girl lean in to give her condolences to my cousin and introduce herself by saying proudly, "I'm a Webb too."

Well, I am also proud to be a part of this great family. I can hardly wait to get to heaven and ask my grandfather if he ever got the rat out of his overalls.

As I close this uncharacteristically sappy blog post, I would be remiss if I did not mention that the continuation of our Webb reunion is only possible by the grace of God and our acceptance of that great gift of eternal life. It is a spot that each of us must secure ourselves. It is a choice that is personal to make. I made the choice when I was young because I love God and I wanted to live a forgiven life. One of the many things that continues to excite me about heaven is the idea that our reunion, while dwindling in numbers on Earth...is getting larger and larger in the hereafter. I just hope the fried chicken is as good there as it is here.

A proud Webb

Get this kid...

Get this kid a ball. Sam and I had a play date with Jennifer and Emma this past week. Emma is a few months older than Sam and has now mastered the art of playing with other people. Meanwhile, Sam has mastered the art of "that's mine...yes even though it is at your house and I've never seen it before today...it's still mine." At one point, we did go outside and Sam immersed himself in the middle of a group of older boys playing ball. One of the boys was Emma's older brother Nathan. Sam was in complete awe. The boys were really sweet to let him "think" he was playing with them and he ran around the yard laughing at them and throwing his own ball. It was really quite sweet to watch.

Get this kid a birthday cake. Memorial day was Nina's birthday so we all went to my sister's house for an impromptu cookout and celebration. Sam tells knock knock
jokes. What we love about Sam's knock knock jokes is that
he feels its necessary to say "knock, knock" to each person in the room. So if the entire family is there...it could be awhile til you hear the punchline. We got my mom a blue birthday cake. Why you ask? Because I apparently forget sometimes that I have a toddler and I think a blue birthday cake is pretty rad. Yes I said rad. Samuel thought it was rad too...just look at his face. In true, never leave anyone out, form - Samuel wished everyone a happy birthday before asking where his present was.

Get this kid a haircut. But only if you've worked out and had a nap. We are regressing in the haircut tantrum category. At one point during this haircut, I looked down to see the top of my shirt pulled all the way down to my kneecaps and I meditated on the only, slightly PG-rated
expression that came to mind. "Oh to hell with it." It had happened...I'd lost the will to be modest. People told me it would happen in labor...it didn't. It happened in Pigtails and Crewcuts. Well, somehow his hair got cut, he now has finger size bruises on his neck and I knocked over the trashcan on the way out. I was also told my child wasn't the worst...just the worst of that day. Do you get a free haircut for winning that award? On the way in my mom asked me why I didn't buy the 10 haircut package. On the way out she laughed at the insanity of her earlier question. Why? Because he'd be 27 before I used them all. I get why Kate Hudson's son has a ponytail. I don't like it...but I totally get it.

Get this kid a sibling. So I have no announcement. Just an unfortunate misunderstanding that happened yesterday. So I thought it would be an excellent idea to text my mom the following sentence in response to her inquiry about the bird's nest in my backyard and whether or not the eggs had hatched. YOU HAVE TWO GRANDBIRDS NOW. This idea was, in fact, not excellent. My mom called me 21 seconds later squealing and hyperventilating.

I had know idea she was so into nature.

Great Job, Mama!

With all the "mine's", "no's" and "no way's" I encounter on a daily basis with my two year old, I sometimes forget to hone in on the good. The heart swelling moments.

Like the times, he hands me the black crayon and says, "cheer mama, draw with me." Of course, you are only allowed to use the black crayon. Any other color will result in a relapse into the world of what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine.

There are those days when he actually wants you to play with him instead of just watching him play. I think those moments are pretty special. Sometimes he even gives you his favorite car to play with.

I like when he randomly yells, "MAMA" and runs to give me a hug.

Or when he tells a knock knock joke to an entire table of your enchanted family that no one understands and then laughs at his own, indistinguishable, punchline. Or the fact that he thinks in order to tell a really good knock knock joke, you have to first say "knock, knock" to each individual person before beginning the joke.

But the best moment happened the other day. We were looking at a book and I asked Samuel how many windows were on thet bus. Then I counted them. "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8...Look Sam, there are 8 windows on that bus." My two year old, looked up at me and said, "Great job, Mama."

"Us" Thinking

When Andy and I were first married, we lived in a 2nd story apartment. I just realized this sentence makes me sound like I'm 75. The optimal transitional word here would be, anyway, there was one night when we were having some really bad weather blowing through. There were heavy thunderstorms with the potential for tornadoes and our eyes were glued to the Weather Channel. At about midnight, the sirens in our area started going off and as previously planned in an emergency, I phoned our downstairs neighbor to tell her we were coming down to seek shelter. I hung up the phone and I bolted for the door.

I left everything...including my new groom. My neighbor opened the door to my panic-stricken face (I am firmly anti-tornado) and stared at me for a few seconds. "Are you going to let me in?" I demanded. She just stared. I was annoyed...and panicked. "Where's Andy?" she asked looking behind me. I paused. Oh right, him. "There wasn't time," I yelled over the thunder in the background. Just then, my husband appeared behind me with his wallet, my purse, our wedding rings, the cell phones, the chargers and our passports. "Thanks for waiting," he managed as we made our way into safety.

Clearly my husband was good at "us" thinking. I, on the other hand, needed a little more time to adjust to thinking about the welfare of someone other than myself...like in a tornado...during an evacuation to a neighbor's house.

When Sam was first born, I would get ready to go somewhere and allot myself the 10 short minutes it basically takes to get myself ready. I would grab my purse, check the charge on my cell phone and then look down at the baby looking at me from the bouncy seat. "Oh, right. You're going too," letting it sink in that I would need an additional fifteen minutes to gear up to bring a newborn and that thought hadn't even occurred to me. It wasn't that I had forgotten about him, I just wasn't, as I previously stated, doing a whole lot of "us" thinking.

In the beginning year of being a mom, I would foolishly make plans during nap time and think that a 'late' dinner worked great for me. That was "me" thinking.

I look at my life today. I see how intertwined the three of our lives, minds and hearts are and I can't imagine, at this point, NOT "us" thinking. The love and devotion to my family has (thankfully) grown over the few years we've had together and I'm so thankful that they are a part of my life.

I'm also thankful that Andy didn't hold the tornado incident against me and that Sam was too young to remember the maternal hiccups I had in the beginning.

And just for the record, I would shove them both in a tornado shelter before me...now THAT is coming a long way, baby!

Bible Verse

According to Sam,


I pray this is only the beginning of a lifetime of delighting in God's word.

Sam's Mommy

Evil Sleeves

I hate the changing of the seasons. Not because of allergies or because I prefer hot weather to cold or vice versa. I hate changing seasons because of sleeves. Yep, I totally said sleeves.

You see, changing seasons means changing wardrobes. It means going from jeans and sweatshirts to shorts and short sleeves. Each time we have to make one of these seasonal wardrobe transitions with my child, its traumatic...for everyone. It also means, that once you've won the fight, you can't go back. It doesn't matter if there is a cold snap in late May...you've broken the seal, gotten through the withdrawal symptoms over winter clothes and going backwards is not an option. He's just going to have to be cold.

Every fall, the fight is about jackets and coats. It starts off in early October by a weeks worth of chasing him around the house, pinning him to the floor with, let's face it, your knee in his back so he won't get pneumonia on the playground. He stops running away from you by mid November, stops screaming by Christmas and is bringing you his jacket in early March when you're matching up his summer short sets. Let's not even talk about hats and mittens. I just don't even go there. Yes, I have the kid on the playground with blue fingers and red ears. You come over and put gloves on him.

A few weeks ago, we had gotten him into shorts and t-shirts. It took some difference of opinion sharing (tantrums). He pulled at his arms crying and yelling, "no shirt" while I was- well sweating because he was kicking me. I find I sweat a lot with a two year old. I'm not really sure I even need a gym membership at this point. I was arrogant to think we had gotten through the worst part and so I decided to push it with a sleeveless shirt this week and some new sandals. It was Saturday, 9:05Am - perhaps you heard the screaming and wasn't sure if you should call 911.

The truth is, I have about 15 minutes of a stubborn mommy clock. I let him writhe on the floor, screaming, crying and, I think, foaming at the mouth. I say things like, "well, you're just going to have to work this out, Samuel." and "I wish all I had to be stressed out about in life were sleeves.". If he is still showing the same passion about his opinion after fifteen minutes, I think to myself, "If I had $5000 right now, I would give it to him to stop screaming because this is the most miserable moment of my entire life. I just want it to be over."

What can I say? Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose. Saturday, I lost. No sleeveless shirt, no sandals and no satisfaction when he stopped crying in the time it took me to say, "Okay, fine, you win," and skipped into the living room saying, "Max and Ruby."

The boy has got mad skillz sometimes.

Date Night is a Great Night

Door to door, Andy and I can do a date night in three hours. Nope, we're not trying to win a contest. We're just old, lame and really really tired. It's especially bad when your own parents, who are babysitting for you, mention that you got home like two hours before they expected you. It's even worse, that as they are telling you this, you are just wanting them to leave so you can put on the pajama pants you've been dreaming about all evening.

Last night, despite the Olympic qualifier of an evening, we had an especially fun time. We went to see an IMAX show about Arabia. It was really interesting. Upon watching the film, I have decided that besides the obvious core differences between being Baptist and being Muslim, I just really couldn't be Muslim because the one trip you have to take to Mecca involves a whole lot of people in each other's space. I'm talking a WHOLE LOT of people in space that was NOT MEANT for that many people. I'm too into my personal space to go to Mecca. Does this make me culturally shallow? I guess I can live with that.

During the film, we sat a few seats down from Mr. Talkstooloud and Mrs. Everythingihavetosayduringthismovieisreallycharmingincludingmyreallyloudandobnoxiouslaugh but we'll call them Bob and Betty for short. Bob and Betty were clearly on a date, and they were really cocky about it. I desperately wanted to shush them. My husband really just wanted me to mind my own business and watch the movie. Since research shows that the loudest sound on Earth is someone making a shushing noise to someone else, I caved and became increasingly more bitter as I tried to concentrate on the windstorms and galloping camels on the screen. It was all I could do to not tell Betty that they were the rudest people on earth as we passed in the ladies restroom. You see, I have this fear, that if I tell someone off, like what I truly think of their behavior in a way that is just nasty (you know like I'm thinking it)...they will decide to visit my church next Sunday. I know, that statement is all kinds of wrong and Jesus would never snear something ugly at a woman on a date in the bathroom at IMAX, but I'm just being honest.

I'll pray about that later.

Afterward we went to eat at our favorite pizza place. I mean favorite because I truly think they put something in their pizza that makes you sit up in the middle of the night and crave it. I only feel this addiction to three things in my life: Coffee, Gold Canyon Candles and this pizza place. If you are planning an intervention for us...don't bother. We happily plan our dates around this pizza place any and every chance we get. At one point in the evening, I told my husband a really lame joke at which he rolled his eyes and told me it was the worst joke ever. Then I laughed at it for fifteen minutes. I could not stop. It was mascara crying funny...to me.

At 9:30 sharp we arrived home to my parents who were sitting in our living room without a thought bubble over their heads. However, IF they were to have had a thought bubble, it would have said something like, "Geez kids these days do NOT know how to party." And its true, we don't. But what I have always loved about my relationship with my husband is our ability to laugh at ourselves. We laughed more last night, than we did in all of 2009 and it was wonderful!

Rockin' the Big Boy Bed

I feel like a lot of the trauma of these milestones is more about the parents than the kids. I can't tell you how many things have ended up traumatizing me way more than my son. Most of the milestones just hover over me like this big, dark cloud of dread. Don't get me started on potty training. I cry a little every time I think about it. I couldn't dread anything more. This week, however, I took the bull by the horns and proactively decided it was time to move into a big boy bed...on a Sunday night...before I had to be at work Monday morning. What is wrong with me?

My child seems to be one of the last of his age group to leave the crib and embark on the big boy bed journey. I have no idea why, but Samuel just never figured out or showed any interest or aptitude in the art of the crib escape. For this I am truly thankful, Amen.

At any rate, I realized that if we ever wanted to take a vacation with him, he would have to be able to lay down without being contained or restrained (haha just kidding) and go to sleep out of discipline and not for lack of a better option. Enter toddler bed, stage right.

I have to say that as far as this scary milestone goes, my fears were as follows:

What if he won't lay in the bed?
What if he gets up and trips over his toys?
What if I am up all night for the rest of my life, walking him back to his room?
What if he gets up in the middle of the night, comes out of his room, drags a chair over to the kitchen counter, pulls all the knives out of the butcher block and starts juggling?
Or my biggest fear: What if I wake up in the middle of the night and there is a toddler standing quietly beside my bed just staring at me like some horror movie and I scream? Or I think its really creepy. Then I feel bad for thinking my child is creepy so I try to buy his forgiveness for the rest of his life and he rebels and goes to Hollywood to be a comedian where he will surely do entire sets about his mother?

You know, basic, run-of-the-mill, normal motherly fears.

Well, I can say that four days into a toddler bed, none of these things have happened. In fact, nothing much of anything happened. Sure, he quickly realized he could come out of his room anytime he wanted to and has a few times being quick to come up with a really important reason such as "More Drinking?" "Max and Ruby?" or my personal favorite "I love you mommy." I have been extremely diligent to walk him back to his room, saying "It's night night time. Get in your big boy bed." Last night, he made it the entire night and didn't come out of his room until 6:45AM this morning. I am grateful that this went so smoothly although the idea that this little boy can no longer be contained is still hard to accept. As Andy says, "This is a game changer."

Here's to a smooth game changer!
Sam's Mommy

"OH NO, Abbaleesia!"

What is an Abbaleesia, you ask? We'll get to that, I promise.

This week, I have had my first Spring Break since college. Sam's preschool was out so I decided after the three trips to DC in two months, I needed a break...Spring Break that is. No, we didn't head to Destin and get this vacation commemorated in Airbrush. Do they still do that? Sam and I stayed right here at home and have been enjoying this beautiful weather. Andy has even had a few days off as well.

Sunday we had our first Easter Egg hunt that we *pointing to Sam* actually understood the rules of the game. Last year, if you recall...or don't...whatever, we *pointing to Sam* stalked the Easter bunny all day and refused to pick up eggs...then we *pointing to Sam* flung hot dogs at people. This year, we went to Nanny Coot's assisted living to join the fun there. All I can say is that a two year old understands a game where they try to run and take as many things as possible as "theirs". It was a lot of fun and Nanny enjoyed being a part of it. Unfortunately the only things in the eggs were bubble gum, Gobstoppers and Now and Laters...not two year old friendly, so I stole his candy when he wasn't looking. It's fine, people, he got chicken nuts and a drinking later that day, so he worked through it. (In case you are not caught up, Sam calls them chicken nuts and drinking, I am highly educated and know that it is not proper grammar, but rather really darn cute). He also had a "Sam Only" Easter Egg hunt at Tiggy's house that he seriously enjoyed and collected eggs at his leisure since they were all his anyway.

This week we've also done play dates, bubbles, colors, sidewalk chalk, cars and more Dora than I care to let the Pediatric Association know about. Should I be concerned that Sam knows more Spanish than I do? I have really enjoyed this time of connecting on a daily basis with my child in a way that I normally don't get to. I am loving it and feeling the stress I've carried for over a year start to melt away. The traveling I've done (albeit not as much as some moms) has been wearing me down and I just didn't realize it until I stopped. It's hard to be away. It's hard to schedule being away. It's hard to calculate the number of diapers and lay out enough outfits in order to be away. I have a great support system, but last week, I kissed a part of my job that involved all that stressful travel goodbye and although I will miss some things about that opportunity, I am somewhat relieved. My current travel will be short trips in the state of GA and mostly up to my discretion. That is a blessing.

So I have done a lot of laying on the floor (lying or laying? - I never did well in that part of Language arts) and playing with cars this week. We have raced all of our cars. My son knows them by name thanks to his dad. We have raced Mustang against Porshus (Porche), Wiggameenie (Lamgorghini) against Corbette (Corvette) and School Bus against Rarry (Ferrari). I have to say that the only race I don't believe is that the School Bus beat the Ferrari...I'm not a car person and even I think that one was rigged.

Tonight, we were racing cars and his truck accidentally knocked another car off his train table. Then I hear, "Oh No, Abbaleesia." You see, when Andy was teaching him the names of the cars, I told him I couldn't tell the cars by just looking at them. He told me that I could cheat and look on the bottom to see what the car was and call it by name. So I did this, with the car I had in my hand. All it said was, Made in Malaysia. So much to my husband's annoyance, I named the car, "Malaysia." Then I got Sam to start calling it this...but it comes out, "Abbaleesia." I can't stand it people, it's just too cute to have a two year old yell, "OH NO! Abbaleesia." And after all, cute is what lets them get to three, then four...

Spring Break 2010 Rocks!

Sam's Mommy

This is a Test. This is Only a Test.

Do not panic. This is only a test. Failing this test, however, could result in the raising of a child into a man who throws his stapler at his boss when he doesn't get his way. It could mean that when a waiter asks if your adult son wants vegetables with his steak at an important dinner he will scrunch up his nose and scream "No Way!" Worse yet, he could spend his entire life consuming nothing but bananas, Kit Kats and chocolate milk. But don't panic. It's just a test.

Discipline. Consistency. Tired, working parent. Genius two year old. This kid is good. He gets it. I think when he runs away from me while I'm trying to get him into the car screaming, "Jesus is Alive," he knows how conflicted I am. Yes indeed, Samuel, Jesus is alive. It's wonderful. Jesus wants you to get in the car...he told me. So did Santa and the Kit Kat fairy.

Of course, you have to give props to the, "I'm not ready to go to bed" Oscar winning performance. How do they cry crocodile tears so big? My favorite these days is a response to the phrase, "Samuel, you are driving me crazy." He immediately stops whatever he is doing, smiles up at me and says, "Okay Mama...I love you. I'm coming."

I have to admit...I wish I could manipulate people like that.

Most of all, I have to admit, I finally get what my mother was trying to communicate when she would say, "Rachel, I could pinch your head off right now." Yes indeed mom.

To that two year old genius at life I say, I love you, I discipline you because I love you...and one day I pray you are blessed with a pair of big blue eyes of your own who will put you to the test.

And, PS, stop screaming, "The Bible tells me so," when I'm trying to get the Sharpie away from you. The Bible doesn't even mention open-capped markers.

Nanny Coot and the Kit Kat

One wonderful silver lining of the devastating loss of my grandfather is the relocation of my grandmother. She was five hours away, now she is five minutes away. It's wonderful. It also gives my son the opportunity to be spoiled by one more great lady.

I have to be honest with you that Sam wasn't sure what to think of Nanny Cooke when she arrived (by the way, Sam calls her Nanny Coot). That first night when I took Sam over to see her at Nina and Papa's house, I held out my hand to help Nanny sit down and was quickly stopped by a green eyed little boy named Sam who yelled, "My mama" and tried to push Nanny Coot away. I was more than a little mortified. I'm a first time mom, of course my mind raced with the life of crime destined for a little boy who started pushing 84 year old women down when he was two. But of course, the other side of the mom in you swells with emotions that this little boy who is usually too busy to sit in your lap, got jealous over his mommy. Mommyhood seems to be filled with those conflicting "that's so wrong, but its so cute" moments.

After one hour and one Kit Kat offered as a peace offering by Nanny Coot, Sam was won over. Now we go visit her several times a week and Sam can always be expected to say, "I love you Nanny Coot. (pause, wait for it) Kit Kat?" Kids are smart. Of course, Nanny Coot is happy to oblige if she can get a hug in return. Everyone has a price.

We are so happy to have Nanny Coot in our lives and so close in proximity! Sam and I look forward to many more Kit Kats with her. We love you Nanny Coot!...Kit Kat?


Just so you know...

NOTHING has been more stressful in parenting than figuring out the cup progression. Food was not this difficult. There are not that many variations on a spoon. But cups...OH HOW I HATE THEE. I have sippies with plugs, I have sippies without plugs, I have juice boxes. I have flip up straw cups, screw on disposable cups with straws, disposable non plug sippy cups. THIS is why I have a 2 year old with a bottle. I am cup overwhelmed.


And then God Laughed.

So just as I was proclaiming my membership in the Secret Bottle Society, Sam got a double ear infection. I was really concerned. This makes three ear infections in two months. The kid had ZERO ear infections until his 2nd birthday...now he's had three. I asked the pediatrician what could POSSIBLY be causing this...she barely looked up from behind "the chart".

"Do you still give him a bottle?"
I started sweating, "Mmmmaybe" but I was really thinking "are you reading my blog?"
"Does he take one to bed?"
I looked at Andy..."he might."
"That's it. He's laying down at night with a bottle...it makes it worse."
I looked over at Andy who mouthed the word "darn" only it wasn't "darn". Our sacred crutch.

Fine, we shall start weening...whatever. I'm not bitter.

Life Goes On...

So must my blog!

Sam is settling nicely into his twos. He has had a vocabulary explosion. If you ever want to know what phrases you overuse, just have a two year old around. Here are some of the winners.

"Wait a minute." - this is something both me and his Nina say...a LOT.
"Happy Birthday, Daddy" - this is what happens when you say, "Go tell daddy to have a good day," Andy's birthday isn't until June.
"I'm so glad!" I have no idea who says this other than, now, samuel.
"Idiot" Thanks to daddy.
"Crap" Thanks to mommy.
"Oh Man" Thanks to Swiper the Fox.

The other day, Sam walked up to his preschool teacher, Ms. Heidi and proceeded to list every cartoon character on television. "Tommy, Dora, Boots, Diego, Bobos, Roary, Wiggles, Ruby, Max, Kai-lan" You get the picture.

Great, no question that I'm exceeding the Pediatric Association's recommended television dosage for my two year old and I was just busted. Although I was somewhat relieved he didn't go up to Ms. Heidi and say, "Dr. Phil, Judge Judy, Cheaters, Beverly Hills 90210 - the original, Supercars, Hoarders..." and you get the picture there too.

I think the thing I get most excited about is that as each day passes, Sam gets easier to do things with. If you remember, I was the one that thought the zoo at 10 months was a great idea. It wasn't. He got stuck in his stroller as he was trying to get out. I thought we were going to be on the news. I believed a trip up to see Tommy Choo Choo on an overnight adventure at 1 and 1/2 would be so easy. It wasn't. He ran around the hotel room screaming all night then fell asleep the moment the car purred to life as we were evacuating the hotel at 6AM. I have been so ready to do things "with" my child instead of "for", that I get so excited when I realize there are more and more things to do. I love seeing his independence and energy. Kids do make you feel young. It's babies that make you feel old.

I realize I have ceased to care entirely about baby milestones. What other mothers do is not really my concern anymore...at all. I'm not sure if this is true for everyone but its true for me. I was so anxious about formula to cereal to solids and the correct timing when he was a baby. I was certain to keep track of physical milestones, speech milestones and everything else I could tell my pediatrician for her to indicate on "the chart". I got a little anxious when he somehow hadn't met one or another. Now. Who cares? I don't. In fact, my baby still uses a bottle. You read this right. A bottle. Not a sippy...an actual baby bottle. Are you shocked? Be shocked, I don't care. Go thumb through your "What to Expect..." Volumes. I put a bottle of water in bed with him at night in his CRIB that he is still in where he is most definitely NOT potty trained. My mantra..."All milestones will be met before he heads to college." Put that in your pediatric milestone chart. Now, when I say I don't care, what I mean is I care VERY much so I only take sippy cups out in public. Lest anyone should judge me. The bottles are my deep dark secret. You just never know what's going on behind closed doors. :)

Here's to goin' mommy rogue!
Sam's Mommy...the rebel!

Burying My Granddaddy

My mind has been filled with the following thoughts/explanations:
"He had a good life"
"He's no longer sick."
"He's with our Heavenly Father."
"He's hugging his parents."
"He didn't suffer for very long...God called him home."

All of these are true. All of these bring me a sense of relief and comfort. All of these bring me one more reason to be excited about heaven. I'm sure all of us have felt this way when we bury a grandparent. We have these conflicting feelings of great loss and a "shrug our shoulders" this is the natural cycle of life mentality.

No thoughts change the fact that I buried my Granddaddy, a man who was always bigger than life to me. A fascinating character (and I do mean character) who served his family, his country and his God (not necessarily in that order) until the very end. I thought he was invincible. I thought nothing could get the best of him. I thought I would have him forever. In a way, I'm still a naive little girl.

Last Sunday, he took his last breath. It was an 8 month struggle with Esophogeal Cancer. God granted His mercy. He did not really suffer long before he was called home. This act of God was an answer to a prayer, a plead from our family. God granted our prayer. I am grateful and empty all at the same time. God is understanding. I believe God understands how I miss him. How the thought of not hearing his deep, boisterous, voice on the telephone will hit me little by little over time. He understands that it makes me sad to know we won't have verbal sparring matches when I come to visit. He understands my broken heart that there will be no more visits...not on Earth at least.

I'm not sure that I will ever be able to properly convey how much this man meant to me, so I will simply leave you with a short biography on the life of a great man.

Hal Cooke was born on February 1, 1925 in Boone, North Carolina. He was a Veteran of World War II and Korea. In Korea he flew over 120 combat missions and was decorated accordingly. He was a pilot with Eastern Airlines for over 30 years. He married Polly Godfrey - a very wise decision - and they were three months shy of their 65th wedding anniversary when he passed away last week. He raised three great kids and has a host of grandkids and great grandkids. He was an adventurer. He was intelligent. He was interesting. He had an incredible sense of humor. Most of all, he faced his battle with cancer like a soldier. He never complained. He never cursed God. He died like a true hero.

He was a believer of Jesus Christ and he has now met God. If you remember nothing else, remember this. There is no hopelessness in death when we believe in Christ. I am sad, but not without hope. His journey started and ended before mine...we'll catch up one day. That gives me blessed assurance.