Yep, I overslept.

It’s 6:45AM and I have managed to successfully “snooze” 8 times and now, as I look at my phone, I realize that my son has approximately 6 minutes to get completely ready for school and BE at the bus stop.

Excellent.  I love starting the day with this much adrenaline.

I shoot out of bed and run to stand over him, “GET UP, WE’VE GOT TO GO, YOU NEED TO GET DRESSED…NOW.”  I am 99.9% certain that I am more annoying than any alarm clock that has ever been invented. This is confirmed when he groans and pushes my face away, clearly rejecting being awakened boot camp style.

Where is his sense of urgency?  Does he not get that I LET him sleep in by mindlessly hitting snooze all those times?  “GET UP.” I give one final nose-to-nose wake up call.

I throw clothes at his head and run downstairs to make a bottle for the baby.  I chuck a full milk bottle at the smiling, soaked-to-the-sheet-but-I-can’t-deal-with-that-right-now baby and turn on his shows.  

Wesley gets really cranky when he misses his favorite program, “Find the Acorn.”  I hover for a moment and he immediately pushes me out of the way so he can get a better view. It’s a daily nail biter…finding that acorn and I know it’s making him way smart because that’s what the commercial for the show promises to do.

Plus, anytime I can outsource parenting...I totally do.  

Satisfied that he’s getting nutrition AND increasing his IQ, I run back in to check on my other son only to find him whimpering in the middle of his room. He’s clearly not awake and his shirt is stuck. He's got arms where a head should be and he has no pants on.  I resume my drill sergeant approach and continue to bark orders at him to hurry.

I do this because I most definitely want him to grow up with anxiety. 

“Mom, I can’t do this. I need help.” 

“Sam, you are almost six…you can do this,” I absently say while holding six different socks in my hands and trying to process for a second what I’m going to do with them.  Where do the socks go?  I finally reach down and find a pair. 

Dang.  It has a hole. Of course it does.

I briefly contemplate tying off the hole and putting it on him anyway. 

Clearly I should have learned how to darn. 

I finally decide to go with the two different socks that would look the least different when a shoe is on.  I just hope it’s not “take your shoes off and ‘out’ your mom” day at school because the bottoms are two totally different colors.

I then drag Sam downstairs. 

The next 1.5 minutes is spent brushing teeth, packing a nutritionally questionable lunch and trying to find a discouraging way to ask if he wants breakfast. 

Look. Don't judge me.  

We then begin running down the street to the bus stop…this is great because I am incredibly prepared to run.

This also coincides with my daily prayer time and meditation.

Please God don’t let him miss the bus.  Please God don't let my heart explode. 

We make it to the bus stop and I am unable to return the greetings of the other parents as I'm bent over nursing my running cramp and panting.

Suddenly, my son shrieks.  “MOM…IT’S SHOW AND TELL DAY!”  

There is no more terrifying sound than a kid shrieking “mom” and then following it up with something you have 8 seconds to go find, make or buy for school. 

I look down at my pajamas in the hopes that something cool for show and tell somehow got caught on my body as I was walking out the door. 

Nope…that never happens. 

As the bus comes into view, I explain that we’ll see if we can do show and tell some other time.  Which seems to appease him.  I mean THAT or me promising to make it up to him by buying some toy he doesn’t need and with a million pieces that I’m certain will spend most of their time in the mouth of the one year old. 

Part of this promise is to make up for show and tell and part of it is hush money so he won't tell anyone how our morning went and I won't feel as guilty.  

I reflect on all the ways I have already failed as a parent before the sun has even come up when I then remember accidentally spilling wine on his reading assignment the night before. 

That’ll require an email of explanation to the teacher.  How is the best way to start a "here's why my son's reader smells like Chardonnay.." email?  

I watch my son hop on the bus saying one more prayer that the horrific case of bed head clears up before he reaches the school and I finally turn to go.

I make my way back to my house, frightening myself when passing the hall mirror and getting a good look at the beast that walked her son to the bus stop. I lean my face two inches from my Keurig and wait for the coffee to brew before heading upstairs to make sure that they did indeed find the acorn. 

Which, I’m happy to say, they did. 

So at least the day wasn’t a TOTAL failure. 


Man, I Had a Lot of Ideas

Before I got married, I declared that I would NEVER let the sun set on my anger with my husband.

But then 2AM came and everyone was still mad...and tired and I decided that in reality, a good nights rest can sometimes shine a more forgiving light on things in the morning.

Before I had kids, I said I would NEVER allow them to get their dinner before the rest of the table got theirs.  They can just sit patiently, with their hands folded and wait for their meal.

Then I realized what an idiot I was and began ordering my kids chicken nuggets from the parking lot of the restaurant.

I said I would never feed my kids in the grocery store.

How many times have I forgotten to tell the checkout person that the box of teddy grahams is already open? Oops.  

I pinky swore with my doctor that my kid would never know what a Dino-nugget was.

Now, there's an ark's worth of animal shaped foods lurking in my kitchen.  

My kid was never going to be the kid with bed head running into school late clinging their half eaten pop tart.

But, it seems, on days when trying to calm the hair down by licking my hand and patting down the head of a five year old full of objections doesn't do the job,  I indeed have that kid.

My baby was always going to look like he just finished posing for the Pottery Barn Kids catalog.  You know the babies, in the cute monogrammed dinosaur towels?

But he looks like that for just the 45 seconds after his bath...then, he mostly just looks like he finished posing for the Kid With Peanut Butter in His Hair magazine.

I was going to not be a mess.  I was not going to be the person that childless people pointed at when making their case for remaining childless

...but in the hustle and bustle of life,  I fear I may be that woman a lot of the times. And I'm okay with that.

At Kindergarten orientation I scoffed at the transportation form that implied I would ever let MY child ride a bus...certainly not at this age.

But then I sat in elementary school traffic and two days after school started I found myself going through the trash to find the bus riding permission slip.  And what once seemed to be the war zone that I would never let my child enter, was now a luxury chauffeur service that came to my neighborhood  and gave me 45 extra minutes in the morning to drink coffee and catch up on my Judge Judy episodes.

The truth is, I had a lot of ideas.  A lot of theories.  A LOT of judgement.

I'm so thankful that reality was nothing like the cold, rigid and uninteresting ideas milling through my head. Because it's been in the chaos and the moments when things aren't going as I expected that I've felt the deepest love and gratitude for my family.

The soaking wet, naked boys running through the upstairs after bath, dripping water everywhere.

The baby grinning ear to ear while simultaneously running his food encrusted hands through his hair.

The hallway hug you give to your sobbing child who woke up at 2AM having had a nightmare.

The 11th shirt change you have conducted in one day on the teething baby.

The times you and your husband are supposed to be on a date, but you can't help wondering what the kids are doing and find that you are spending your romantic evening discussing how much you hate silly putty.

Yep, that's the reality...and I find it to be way more fun.

The Dawn of A New Schedule

I am not going to lie.

I am drained.

Plus I'm constantly sweating.

The other night I was frantically trying to finish making dinner so I could feed everyone before Wesley imploded into a puddle of exhausted tears and I found that I was just drenched in sweat.  It was meltdown o'thirty and I was willing the chicken with my mind to cook faster so it could just pass the salmonella danger zone and I could feed it to everyone and get the night moving.  It's the frantic beginning of school phase paired with the final months of a muggy summer.  It's just one frizzy hair day after another...but with permission slips and school lunches...and sweat.  
I am trying to get used to the demanding schedule that fall brings. You know the one that requires that we get dressed and brush our teeth?  I don't miss the constant questions and the bored faces, but I do miss how Summer requires so little of us as a family.  Summer is just like, "whenever." But then fall comes and it's all like, "NOW."  At parent orientation, I get a schedule telling me, to the minute, when everything is. Things aren't at 2:30...no...they are at 2:31.

Oh Fall, it's a good thing you have pumpkin lattes and apple spice candles and no humidity because you intimidate and overwhelm me a bit right now.    

When I pictured Sam starting kindergarten, I guess I didn't think about everything that came with it. I didn't think about how "to the minute" our schedules would be.  This year, I have a one year old.  Not a huge pregnant belly and sciatica (thank you Heavenly Father that I don't have a huge pregnant belly and sciatica...oh and Andy also says thank you...but in ALL CAPS).  A one year old.  A mobile one.  One that I'm pretty sure picked something off the bottom of the broom tonight and put it in his mouth (UGH! GROSS! BLEH!).

I don't know, everything just seems so much more hectic.  Not the whole day.  Just like the two hours prior to leaving the house in the morning and the three to four hours before I fling everyone into their respective beds and finally sit down.

Where I find that I'm still sweating.

School starting has been a lot more draining than I thought.  I have had to set an alarm clock.  I haven't set an alarm clock in years.  Since before kids. Throughout our marriage (and even before that) Andy and I have always had this Ladyhawk type schedule (It's a movie from 1985...look it up).  He works at night and I work during the day. It's the way it's always been. We are very used to it.  But it means that literally, one of us is at work and the other is with the kids.  Somedays as I'm coming and he's going, we're literally passing a baby with a full diaper and peanut butter hair to the other one with a quick, "I love you and sorry he smells like that, " before we head to our next obligation.

We are blessed, but somedays, like everyone else, we are so drained from our schedule.

And I'll admit, I'm a bit drained right now.

It's why I don't post much.

It's why I don't socialize much.

It's totally why I bought a movie last night and fell asleep during the opening credits.

But I know this exhaustion will pass.  The baby will eventually stop putting everything in his mouth.  We will acclimate to this new schedule.  And maybe...just maybe I'll even figure out how to beat Level 152 in Candy Crush.

And even until then, the boys daily, remind us why we do it.  We look at them and we thank God for their sweet faces.  We treasure the moments when Samuel cares for Wesley.  We laugh at times like when Wesley presses his face up to the pack and play screen.  We love our special movie nights with Samuel.  We love the love these brothers are already cultivating for each other.

And even in the midst of the craziness, we still find time to steal away for a few moments by ourselves and reflect on how this journey called a family even began.

And we wouldn't have it any other way.

iheart Georgia: Old Chipley Market*

Sunday, I had the great privilege to attend the grand opening of an antique market in Pine Mountain. Old Chipley Market made its official debut and put itself on the map as an antique stop well worth more than a drive-by.    

I love little towns with big history and I LOVE antique shops.  But there is definitely a plethora of definitions when one uses the word “antiques”.   We’ve all been sucked into a store promising beautiful furniture that gives us glimpses into the past as well as looking fabulous in our foyer only to find out we’ve walked into a musty smelling store housing rusty harnesses and boxes of doorknobs. 
And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE junkin’, but if you are looking for “junk”, you will not find it at the Old Chipley Market. 

Purchased in 2013 by Dennis McMahan of Atlanta, the Old Chipley Market is beautifully appointed with gorgeous furniture, d├ęcor and wares that are nothing less than move-into-your-home ready.  One could easily lose hours just taking in the variety, history and quite frankly, trying to decide which item to take home.

I had a great time at Old Chipley Market.  From the front it looks deceptively small, but rest assured, the building goes on and on and is full of must-haves.  No box of doorknobs here.  Trust me, I looked.  Mr. McMahan has built a beautiful store full of tasteful vendors (one of which is my mother-in-law) and it is a touching tribute to the love affair he and his late wife, Margaret have had with antiques throughout their marriage. 

I highly recommend you head down to Pine Mountain and have a visit!

Old Chipley Market
230 S. Main Avenue
Pine Mountain, GA 31822
Open 7 days a week: Monday – Saturday 10AM – 6PM; 
Sunday 12PM – 6PM

From Atlanta, GA: 
Travel I-85 south to I-185. Take Exit 42 (U.S. Highway 27), turn left and travel 12 miles to Pine Mountain.

*This is an unsolicited review and in no way meant to insult people who buy, sell or just prefer boxes of old doorknobs. 

So, Um Yep, It's Raining.

Summer this year has been so different from last year.  For one, I'm not gigantically pregnant, wearing a heart monitor and arguing about the sale price of my husband's Sweetwater. 

I mean mostly I am not doing those things.  

This summer, I have an almost kindergartner and a ten month old...and it's been raining.  A lot. Still, this summer looks VERY different from last summer.  

Last summer, looked a heck of a lot like this.

Yes, Samuel took this picture.  Yes, I'm fairly certain it was so he'd have proof that, as a parent, I phoned in the Summer of 2012.

It's okay because I'm rocking the Summer of 2013.

See...It's the middle of the day and I'm awake. THAT is tremendous progress.

It's been tough finding things for people to do around here with all the rain. But being the slave to educational opportunities that I am, I have come up with plenty of things to occupy everyone's time this summer.  Things that don't involve running laps around my kitchen and shooting water guns in the house (Andy).

This has been the summer of usefulness. Some have used the term "child labor".  Puh-Tay-Toe, Puh-Tah-Toe, people.

Forget summer reading lists, what good does that do for the whole family?  Nothing.  NOTHING.  Besides, I called summer reading list first and I'm almost through with book two in the Divergent series.  I would be through with the book, but my summer goal of getting through Candy Crush met with a minor hiccup when it took longer than expected to get through...well, every level.

Currently, Samuel has been challenged with pest control.  This year we have a wasp nest outside and fruit flies.  Both need to get the heck out of my sight.  Sooo...how perfect for a five year old!  They LOVE bugs.  It was hard at first.  I showed him how to get on the Internet for research purposes and there was some whining about not being able to read.

I'm sorry, I just don't accept excuses.

I told him that if he wanted to be an exterminator when he grew up, he needed to start early.

Sure he says he wants to be a fireman, but I can't very well set my house on fire so he can practice.  I'm glad you're going with me on this one.

Anyway, we had a rocky start, what with the literacy issues and potential for stings, but I have to say, Samuel has really had a great attitude through this whole summer.  It's amazing what a kid will do for dinner.

I have to be honest.  Wesley has not been helpful this year. At all.  He needs to be relieved that he's a good sleeper because when it comes to cooperation, he's, well he's the pits. I ask him to say, "mama," he says, "dada." I ask him to eat his dinner neatly...you get the idea.  No sense embarrassing him with the details.  I feel like he lacks motivation.  He lacks real drive.  I'm thinking of restricting his Exersaucer usage.  I don't know.  Just throwing out some ideas.

He did NOT want to spend the summer inventing a self-cleaning high chair.  Um, he blew raspberries when I suggested he get into organic farming. And I don't even want to tell you the reaction I got when I, very nicely I might add, asked him to look over the last two years of our income tax returns just for a second set of eyes. Frankly, I'm out of ideas with him.

A perfect example:

When Samuel started walking, it took one try to get it on video. As seen here.

So, I have 35 videos varying in length between 4 seconds and 2 minutes of Wesley not walking.  Which one do you want to see?


Bucket List for Moms

I've decided that I spend too much time sitting around disappointed in myself.  There are days that getting a shower and putting on jeans is a day long process.  Forget about brushing my hair.  Why am I so incredibly unproductive? I ask myself this question a lot. Or why am I so drained at the end of the day?  I mean what am I doing with my day, really?  Raising the next generation? Trying to get two boys grown into intelligent, God-fearing, respectful and confident people while trying not to slice my feet on Legos?  Is that really that hard?

I don't know...it seems important but mostly it just seems like I don't have the choice to slack off there even if I wanted to sit in my bathrobe all day and stream Supernatural on Netflix.  I mean, they notice when you don't feed them, or answer their 9 millionth question about zombies, or look up from your game of Candy Crush every five minutes to see "the greatest part" of some Lego movie.

At any rate, I have to give myself a break.  My expectations of myself are a little too lofty at times.  Particularly at this time in my life.  I have to remind myself that I may not write that novel over the next long weekend. The jury is out if I'll even brush my teeth.  Oh I'll have good intentions.  But then, like, lunch rolls around.  And why am I the only one in my house that will eat a handful of wheat thins and call it a meal?

What is up with the foodies in my house?

So it's time to do the unthinkable.  I'm dummying down my bucket list.  Gone are the mountains to summit and the planes to jump out of (yep, so those were never on my bucket list). Enter in the more reasonable goals.  Goals that match this particular time in my life.  Here we go.  Let's start off easy.

1. Finish this blog post...it's been 3 month for crying out loud (as I type, I'm two short minutes from accomplishing this...I already feel like a winner.)

2. Make at least one member of my family (preferably a child) finish their entire prescription - I'm not gonna lie...I'm perpetually 90% on this one, but can I just say that Amoxicillin is freaking annoying.  Keep it in the fridge?  I never remember to put that stuff back in the fridge.  So realistically, is it poisonous if it sits on the counter?  No longer active?  No seriously...I need to know this.

3. Remember to put the Amoxicillin back in the fridge.

4. Buy and change lightbulbs.  - Honestly this is Everest-level impossible, but I can't accomplish all of my goals at one time...I will work up to this one. Perhaps, I will employ a Sherpa to help.

5. When it is determined the pen you are holding doesn't write...throw it away.  STOP.  RACHEL.  Do not put that pen back in the drawer.  It will just irritate you the next time you go to write something down (like the fact that you need to buy lightbulbs).

6. Put the Advil in a spot designated for Advil, then remember that spot.  There is always a frantic search accompanied by angry ranting when a headache sets in.  You can ask Andy.  Side note - this is another excellent job for the Sherpa I'm going to hire.  He can hold the Advil.  Done.

7. Overuse ellipses...done...I rock.

8. Be a grown up, Rachel and change out your table decor.  - So my grandmother not only had every day dishes and fine china, she had Christmas and Thanksgiving dishes that she rotated in and out seasonally.  I have two sets of day dishes that are all mixed together and I am so short on forks and drinking glasses that I have made my family drink out of travel mugs and tonic glasses when company is over.  I do, however, have sixteen martini glasses.

9. Find more friends who exclusively drink martinis.

and finally,

10.  Remember that you don't have to be climbing mountains to be accomplishing great things.  Raising children is a marathon.  A wonderfully overwhelming, exhausting, but fulfilling marathon.  Your children don't see your shortcomings.  They see their mother. Loving. Nurturing. Strong. They watch your treatment of others.  They listen to your words of wisdom and humble prayers to God (I mean, hopefully, if they can still hear, given the fact that they never finished their antibiotics for an ear infection...ever).  They love you unconditionally and think, despite all the failures you see in yourself so plainly, that you are perfect and doing a great job. And if you have trouble remembering #10...just look at their faces. That should say it all.

Blurry but I love the laughter!

So, I think I'm good with 36

Last week, before the flu entered our home and made camp, I was supposed to be working on a writing project with my sister.  I was under a self-imposed deadline so naturally I determined it was a critical time to do anything other than work on the actual assignment.  This included reading my 7th grade paper on Gone with the Wind, my 10th grade paper on pollution, collecting all the change in my house and leafing through some old diary entries from when I was 20. 

Nothing is more cringe-worthy than coming face-to-face with your 20 year-old self.  Excuse me, what I mean is coming face-to-face with “A scared 19 year-old girl staring uncertainly down the dawn of a new life decade,” (Webb, 1996).  

I started reading and all I have to say is that I really wanted to punch that girl. 

As I read, I learned that the 20 year-old me was , “desperately searching for the real woman inside” and reminding herself to, “visualize her Montana bed and breakfast” and that she was “an uncut diamond of possibility,” and “way more than a checkout girl at Mervyns.”  (Webb, 1996)

And while I was reading (from under the covers in my bed) I was screaming at that girl to keep her job at Mervyns and even get a 2nd job and open a Roth IRA or start to save up for a house.  I wanted to shake her and tell her to stop spending all her money on make-up at CVS, and to keep the “long and winding road that is to be my life” in perspective (Webb, 1996). I wanted to spare her the old saying that things just work themselves out and introduce her to the concept that as you get older, YOU SIMPLY DON’T HAVE TIME TO THINK THIS MUCH.

Back then, I wanted people to like me.  I wanted someone to fall madly in love with me.  I wanted the respect of my peers and enough success to show everyone I went to high school with that I was someone. 

Now?  OMG…I want to remember where I put my car keys.

I want to stop snoring.

I want people to know where they are going before they pull out in front of me only to slow down and randomly put on their blinker.  

I want people to pick up the pace in the grocery store parking lot. 

I want my oldest son to stop telling me he wants to be in charge of the house because I’m afraid I might take him up on it one day. 

I want someone to bottom line how the most recent decisions in Washington are going to affect me and my family because, as it turns out, I don’t really care about other people all that much anymore.

As I kept reading, I wanted to light the part where I wrote a poem in the actual shape of a triangle about having “a face of feeling under a mask of metal,” on fire and bury the ashes in a landfill.  

Some of my writing made it seem like I had deep problems or depression that I was dealing with.  I can assure you, I didn’t and I wasn't.  I had no trauma, no bills, no responsibilities and obviously no perspective. What I did have back then was entirely too much free time.  Clearly. 

But the funny thing about finding those diary entries is how it made me feel about being 36.  I don’t know about you, but since having my second and final child, I think a lot about the fact that time has undeniably sped up.  And while I don’t feel old, I do feel the loss of youth.  

But in comparison, youth was not all it cracked up to be.  Youth had angst.  Youth had too many uncertainties.  Youth had life problems that required driving for hours while looping the soundtrack to Reality Bites on her discman.  And, geez, with the rising gas prices, I don’t think I can afford to be so youthful these days. 

So, I think I’m good with 36. 

Wesley update:

Mom was on me to give some sort of milestone update on my 2nd child the way I did with my first.  I reminded her of the two baby books in her house.  The one of my older sister with the broken binding and the pictures falling out of the overstuffed pages and mine.  Mine would be the baby book with one picture in it that still creaks when you open it. 

So sorry, Wesley, I’m a 2nd child too. 

Wesley is 6.5 months.  He’s just getting over his first bout of the flu.  He’s sitting up fairly well, laughing a lot and eating some solids.  He enjoys Classical music to country, red wine to white and has pinky swore that he will always take care of me.  Even though I snore. 

Samuel is also well, even though he says he'd be much better if he could be in charge of the house.  I told him to get a job and I'd gladly turn over my bank account login info for him to get started.  That would free up so much more time for me to angst about life in my diary. 

Here’s a picture:  

or two:

The Chicken, The Fox and The Bag of Grain – Grocery Store Remix

You know this riddle, right? 

A farmer is standing on one bank of a river, with a fox, a chicken, and a bag of grain. He needs to get to the other side of the river, taking the fox, the chicken, and the grain with him.

However, the boat used to cross the river is only large enough to carry the farmer and one of the things he needs to take with him, so he will need to make several trips in order to get everything across.

In addition, he cannot leave the fox unattended with the chicken, or else the fox will eat the chicken; and he cannot leave the chicken unattended with the grain, or else the chicken will eat the grain. The fox is not particularly partial to grain, and may be left alone with it.

How can he get everything across the river without anything being eaten?

This is how I feel about grocery store visits with two kids now.  It is a nonstop, honest to goodness, chicken, fox and bag of grain riddle. 

And I generally suck at riddles. 

A woman is standing outside the local Kroger in a thunderstorm with a five year old, a five month old and a week’s worth of groceries.  In her left hand she holds her car keys, in her right, the bottle of Advil she ripped open in the check out line so she could down three before completing her transaction.  At the bottom of her bag lies her crumpled receipt and 75% of the coupons she had intended to use. 

She has to get everyone into the car and home in one piece before she can rest.  Crap. Did I say rest? I meant before she then has to put everything away and make dinner. 

She can get to the car with everyone, but who to put in first?  She can’t leave the five month old in the cart alone…people call the police over stuff like that. Plus he’s really really adorable and someone could kidnap him and keep him for their own.  And she definitely didn't tote around a heart monitor for a month just to have that happen. 

If it were Christmas, there might be a chance she could give her Salvation Army donation with the condition that the bell ringer provide 45 seconds of babysitting.  But alas, the bells have been put away for the year.  Nothing but upselling girl scouts and there is no room for heavy Samoa negotiations in this week’s budget.  

She can’t leave the five year old in the little car attached to the buggy that just HAD to be green. That’s where the chocolate milk is.  Also, she’s pretty sure he’d defect to the girl scout table and then this riddle would further complicate itself by blowing the don’t-make-eye-contact-to-avoid-cookie-purchasing technique she intended to use. 

The groceries, left unattended will surely get soaked, and she doesn’t want to have to go back to the grocery store, well, ever again really. 

So how can she get everyone into the car and home most effectively?

It’s quite simple really.

She can do it by making an ill planned and poorly executed mad dash to her car in the rain while screaming for everyone to hang on.  She haphazardly throws her sweater over the five month old and prays he can still get oxygen and that she doesn’t trip and fall on her face.  She then slams the cart into the back of the car and begins running laps around her mom-mobile grabbing little people and flinging them into car seats as fast as her under-exercised legs can take her.  It’s a fairly impressive maneuver and she is proud of the fact that she only pauses once to check Facebook. 

She throws her purse and keys into the front seat and sprints to the back of the car where she begins hurling groceries into any available crevice in the trunk.  Things spill over. Cans end up on produce. Cokes get shaken. She knows at this point, that the bread is not going to make it.  

Last but not least, she precariously balances the milk and cokes at the very edge of the trunk before slamming the door.  She says a quick prayer that they won’t fall out in the driveway. 

Another mad dash to the cart return that she, yet again, failed to park next to, and she is on the home stretch.  She walks triumphantly back to her car.  Not too cocky though, she still has to make it to the car without getting hit by the gigantic SUVs that have appeared out of nowhere.

She gets into the driver seat of her car and takes a few minutes to catch her breath and her sanity…well okay, to catch her breath and check Facebook.  It’s not long before the five year old begins to ask why the car hasn’t left its space and the five month old begins to scream. 

She cranks the car and victoriously heads home.  It’s a glorious moment until she realizes that she has forgotten the garage door opener and she has to do this all again in 2.5 miles. 

She bursts into tears.

Hug Your Fish Tight, You are Not Promised Tomorrow.

Last Easter, I had a crazy mom response to an Easter egg hunt that was being thrown at my grandmother's assisted living.  The problem(s)?  The lack of sportsmanship. The refusal to cap the number of eggs each child could collect to give the little kids a fighting chance. The kids old enough to shave who were knocking my four year old out of the way to collect all the eggs. And mostly, said shaving kids' parents who were letting it happen in front of them.

After all the eggs were found, Samuel walked over to me with a nearly empty basket and burst into tears. I had a physical reaction. I could feel my anger rising.  If I had been Jacob Black, I would have turned into a gigantic wolf.  If I had been Lou Ferrigno, you would have seen me grow muscles and turn green. Suddenly, I found myself staring in the face of a difficult learning experience for my child.  The kind where you probably have an obligation to hold your child's hand and walk with him as he faces one of life's harsh realities. It was a tough love moment. So what did I do after I finished consoling my heartbroken child that would help him grow as a person?  Why, I enlisted the help of my mother and sister and in under ten minutes, we had planned our own Easter Egg hunt. A better Easter Egg hunt. An Easter Egg hunt with 12 colored eggs, one golden egg, one prize for finding the golden egg and, of course you guessed it, one Easter egg hunter.  Learning experiences are overrated...my baby was going to get eggs.

What does this have to do with a fish?  The prize Samuel won that day at the First Annual Samuel Turner Invitation-only Solo Easter Egg Hunt, was his pet fish, Ziggy.  

Last night, Ziggy died, and I found myself standing in the middle of yet another life lesson for my son.  He would have to be told that his beloved fish died.  But first, I needed the emotional support one can only find from a spouse.  I went upstairs to tell my husband. 

"Honey, Ziggy's dead." 

He looked up at me suspiciously, "What happened?"  

I stared at him.  "Heart disease? I don't know he's a fish.  He lives in a bowl.  You feed them and then one day they die. He's dead. He's floating in his bowl downstairs and dinner's ready"  

"Did you feed him?"

"YES. I'm the ONLY one who fed him. Come get this dead fish out of my kitchen"  I walked downstairs. 

The truth is, I was probably the cause of Ziggy's sudden demise.  You see, in addition to frequently expressing my wish that the fish would die before I had to go buy more food pellets, I washed his bowl and changed the type of food he was getting the night before. I felt guilty and I was defensive.  A sure sign of guilt.  

Even my mom stated how vibrant and healthy Ziggy had looked only the night before.  Really, mom?  REALLY?

So, I decided to tell Samuel today after school.  He is a wild card about stuff like this and I had no idea what his reaction would be.  Truthfully, he barely acknowledged poor Ziggy.  Feeding him was supposed to be one of his chores but usually I would do it.  Also, I might add, once every week or so I found myself hunched over a sink, cleaning out his bowl and wondering why we had this fish that clearly added nothing to our lives.  Samuel barely took notice of him...as evidenced by the belly up fish that floated dead in its bowl for most of yesterday without him so much as looking in that direction.  

Samuel came home from school today and I called him over to the couch.  "Honey," I said as gently as possible. "You know how pets don't always live as long as people?"  Sam nodded.  "Well, Ziggy went to heaven yesterday" His head whipped around to look for the fish bowl that was no longer there. He looked back at me. "Ziggy died?" He sort of whimpered. Oh no. The tears are going to come and I don't think I'll have the willpower to not get in the car and go buy him a pony. He sort of leaned into me and asked, "Why?" I answered honestly, "Honey, fish just don't live that long." I put my arms around him and pulled him into me. "I know it's hard to lose a pet." He lingered there for a moment before pulling away. He looked at me and sighed "Okay, can I watch Spongebob now?"  

Is that it?  Is this shock or are we truly done mourning Ziggy?  Poor Ziggy. Even in death...unappreciated. 

It was a Rudy Huxtable moment.

A few minutes later, he looked up from Spongebob and said, "Why do my pets always die, mom?"  I stared at him. "This is the only pet you've ever had, Sam." 

"Well, you know what mom?"  Sam was nodding at me and waving his hand in the air as he said, "If I were to get a dog...and you didn't feed that dog either, he would die too."

It was then that Andy confined himself to the closed pantry where I could hear him laughing.


One of THOSE weeks

It's been one of those weeks.  The kind where you realize you just served your son his sad peanut butter sandwich dinner on your husband's case of SweetWaters.

Don't they say it's all about the presentation?
Today, I had a cranky baby.  As seen here.  

No wait, I said cranky. As seen, HERE.

Love his precious face, but it was one of those days where we couldn't get anything right for him.  Andy and I basically spent the day passing a crying baby back and forth begging, pleading with him to tell us what he needed.  It was one of those days when I would have given away family heirlooms for a moment of peace and quiet.  One of those days where I spent the whole day dreaming of all the amazing things I was going to do when everyone under six finally went to bed.  

Every time the baby cried today.  I thought about my after bedtime plans.  Every time my son asked me what word "jklq" spelled and then got mad when I said it didn't spell anything.  I thought about it.  Every time I went to the bathroom while simultaneously talking to a five year old. I thought about it.  Every diaper I changed.  Every feeding I gave. After my son prayed a prayer of thanksgiving to God for Legos, Spongebob and "Gangnam Style", I added a prayer asking to get through the next few moments so I could finally take time to read a book or catch up on my DVR.  Paint my nails or talk on the phone.  Maybe I would do something crafty or finally organize my recipes.  

I had so many big "me time" dreams today that I could hardly wait until I heard the beautiful sound of heavy sleep breathing coming from their bedrooms.  Finally, I heard the blessed sound of nothing.  It was time for me.  I dragged myself into the bedroom where my husband was already lying across the bed with his face in a pillow...I collapsed beside him.  Suddenly, I couldn't remember anything I was planning to do after bedtime.  Plus, I didn't particularly care.

"I've had these pajama pants on for five days," I thought I heard him mumble from under a pillow. 

"What?" I asked.

He came up for air. "I said, I've had these pants on for five days. I just come home and the first thing I do is look for these pants. I just. I want my pants."

"Oh, yeah...I come straight home and look for my maternity t-shirts."

"I know." he answered a little too quickly.

"Did you know that my socks don't match?" He continued.

I looked at his feet.

"See, they don't match.  I have on two different socks." he let his head fall back on the pillow, "and I'm pretty sure one of them is yours."

"I gave up on socks when I had Samuel. I just wear those mules I've had since high school." 

"I know." Again with the quick response.

He looked up. "What happened to us? It's 8:55 on a Friday night and we are lying across the bed and all I can think about is how I don't have the energy to get in it."

His question was a good one.  What happened to us?  Why did we do this to ourselves. A question that would keep any parent up nights trying to answer it if we weren't all passed out ten minutes after the kids fell asleep.  

When Andy and I got married we were the first people in line at the theater the minute a new movie came out.  Every night was date night.  Now, we spend months trying to catch one single movie.  Oh, we have high hopes.  We see the preview of the latest blockbuster on t.v. and point and say with the energy of, well, people with no children, "Next date night. It's on." Weeks pass.  The movie becomes available On Demand, we point and say,  "Friday night, after the kids go to bed. This is it."  Friday comes and Friday goes.  No one can stay awake for a movie.  Premium channels get the movie and still we miss it.  Pretty soon we are both lying in the bed at 8:55 on a Friday night trying to remember the name of that movie we both wanted to see.   

So why do people do it?  Why do they choose to put themselves through the torture of childrearing.  Who would do such a thing?

I know why we do it.  It's because in between the 3AM feedings, the mystery rashes, the brother jealousy, the screaming, the case-of-beer-for-a-table dinners, the uncertainty and the disbelief that we will come through this alive or with any disposable income...we can't help but be taken away by this face...

Or we stumble into the nursery at 3AM only to be caught off guard by this...

Or you have a moment when you realize your heart doesn't belong to you anymore. 

Oh yes, this is why we do it.

Goodnight, Y'all.  Hope you sleep this good tonight!