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Monday, December 5, 2011

It's Just Not Me

I'm not going to even begin this post with, "Oh my goodness, it's been almost a month (again) since I've posted," but I guess I just did. It's the holiday season. That has to count for something?

Speaking of holiday season, there are a lot of cute crafts and creative project going on around me. As I peruse through Facebook and mom sites and talk with friends, it seems that everyone has their children doing something fun and creative.

That's just not me.

Is there something that other moms do that you wish that you could do or be better at? For me, it's crafting. Believe me, there are plenty of more things I could name, but I'm just going to go with crafting for now.

For instance, I just saw an adorable little painting of a Rudolph done with a foot print.

First of all, I would never end up with a footprint from either of my boys. I would end up with a painted footprint trail all over my house. Kind of like the trail of crayon scribbles I came across going from my kitchen floor to my living room floor this evening (I was cooking dinner while this one happened).

Then I have some friends that go to a pottery place every month and make these adorable little pottery pieces. I sometimes daydream of what this might be like to bring my boys in and have them sit and paint a creative creation.

Only, I am brought back to reality knowing that I could probably end up paying for many broken pieces in the shop. Thus, I have no adorable, precious hand-painted pottery pieces to call my own.

Now, there may be hope for Oliver yet. He seems to like to color. He's the one who decorated my floor. Evan has yet to ever attempt coloring on anything except paper, and that only lasts about 30 seconds before he's done.

I'm just not crafty. Do I feel like my boys are missing out on stimulating this creative part of their brain? Yes, I often have bouts of guilt about this. However, I do bake and cook. I bake a lot. And that makes me feel better about the whole creative part...sometimes.

Evan and I bake cookies, breads, cakes and other desserts together. He helps me with pancakes and waffles or muffins. I know it's really not the same, but I pretend it is.

I know that there are so many moms out there who feel guilty about not being the "crafty mom" or the "soccer mom" or the "non-yelling mom" or the "baby-wearing mom." But you know what? It really is OK.

We all have our strengths and abilities, and our kids will benefit from what we do have.

I'm just glad that Evan is in school now, no matter how short it is, so that I can have some crafty things hanging on my refrigerator now. Hooray!

Oh, and another thing that's just not me. I'm not the mom who's children always look put together.

We went to see Santa today, and although the boys weren't perfectly buttoned up with the cleanest faces, it went much better that expected.

Now, the woman behind me with the 9 children ages 2-3 had her brood looking in tip-top form. She must have been a teacher or a child care provider.

All of the children, ALL, had on matching Santa hats and did not stray from her site for a second. None of them were running around; none of them were yelling; none of them were picking their noses.

I turned to her and said, "Wow, I can't believe they are all keeping their hats on?! And they are so well-behaved!"

"I'm surprised too, and we do take a lot of outings together," was her reply.

Somehow, I don't think it would matter how often I took Evan and Oliver out, they would still have something out of place and "act up" at some point.

It was all I could do to wipe the cracker crumbs from Oliver's mouth and brush the crumbs off of Evan's shirt and get Oliver to sit on Santa's lap.

The result was the classic visit Santa photo of one of the children crying and the other looking like a deer in the headlights.

It's a memory.

I know I kind of always end my posts with, "If there's any mom who feels...", but the thing is, this blog is for other moms to relate to and hopefully make feel better. Because whether we're that crafty mom or not, we all have days where we just feel, well, meh.

I just have a lot of those muddled days, but I wouldn't change them for anything. Honestly I wouldn't.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mind Boggling

Right now, I should be making appointments, doing laundry, folding laundry, taking Evan to school, cleaning up the kitchen, changing sheets, cleaning the bathroom, researching for my work assignments, making a grocery list, sending out a Christmas list to family, uploading photos, balancing the checkbook, helping the boys clean up the playroom, vacuuming, mopping, putting summer clothes away and getting out of my pajamas.

Mind boggling.

But somehow, I find myself sitting at my laptop writing a post. The last thing that should be on my list of "things to do," and especially since I just did a recap of our "vacation" last night; however, I thought it would be a good idea to write out everything that was going through my mind in the hopes of it all organizing itself.

The life of a mother is mind boggling muddles, if you will. That's not to say that people who don't have children don't have their fair share of muddles and craziness; but when you add the responsibility of taking care of little people, who can't take care of themselves, it throws a whole new meaning into responsibility.

Stopping for a moment to read my "list" that I typed out of everything I should be doing right now, I would want to get overwhelmed. And most of the time I do. I'm just being honest.

I used to be one of those list-makers. I took great comfort in whipping out my list pad and favorite pen and writing down everything I needed to accomplish for the day. And with each swipe of the pen, as I crossed off the item that had just been completed, I would feel a sense of pride (the good kind).

Ah, to revel in that feeling again.

Now, I barely can roll myself out of bed with my hair somehow still damp from my midnight shower to tend to the little monsters,er munchkins, for the day.

I know you all have days where you don't even know where to begin. You're so overwhelmed with things that need to be done and things you'd like to be done, but know never will, or never will until you kids are off to college.

I love being a mom. I wouldn't change it for anything. I love my boys and they bring me such joy and laughter every day. They keep my life interesting and give me an "excuse" to write musings to the endless black hole of the Internet for anyone and everyone to read.

I've tried to embody being the "Martha Stewart" mom. In other words, labeling everything, having a rigid schedule, being organized, having a spotless home, all while making everything homemade with a smile on my face.

Guess what? That's not me. 

Instead, I run around all day forgetting what I had gone upstairs to do, only to come back downstairs to remember what I went upstairs to do, to pass by something else that I forgot to do. It's a vicious cycle and, again, mind boggling.

I think the hardest thing for me, though, is balancing working from home and being a stay-at-home mom. I'm not even close to the smooth sailing point I want to be at. 

Every week, I start out with a fresh piece of paper ready to make  THEE schedule that will make everything work perfectly. Everything has its time to be completed and everything has its place. This starts on Monday, and by Monday afternoon, I can't even find the piece of paper with my "golden" schedule that was supposed to be the one to work. The one that would cut my kids TV viewing time down by an hour.

Yes, there I wrote it. My kids watch TV. I depend on it on most days in order to meet deadlines and get work done. 

She's really gone and done it now, you may think.

Coming to a place of saying, "You know what? It's OK if I'm a muddled mom and who cares what other people (really, other moms) think," is hard.

There are days that I'm right there, smack dab in the middle. But most days are me fretting over how I could be such a muddled mess.

So, enough of my musings. Just know, if you find yourself overwhelmed today or tomorrow or next week (you will at some point), it's OK. A good and organized day is bound to make an appearance at some point.

I'm counting on it. Today just isn't that day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mini-Muddled Vacay

So a few months ago I found this incredible deal on Living Social for a 2-night family getaway at a hotel that has an indoor water park. It included a food credit, 2 nights at the hotel, 4 passes to the water park and a massage (let's be honest, the massage is what got me).

I convinced Ryan that it was a fabulous idea and I bought it.

Maybe it was a foreshadowing or a warning of what was to come, but at first I had trouble buying the deal and then when I did buy it, I didn't realize until 2 weeks before that it had an expiration date!

I quickly called the resort and made our reservation which ended up being this past weekend.

The family packed up the car and we ventured up  to the mountains and to the water park. Oliver had no idea what was going on, but Evan was super excited to stay at a hotel (his first time) and go to this mysterious place called a water park.

We got there. The hotel was clean. We scoped out the water park, it looked fun...and clean. I was excited!

This was our first alone family vacation together. Honestly, I don't know if you can really call it a vacation when it was only for 2 nights, but we had to start out with baby steps. All other "vacations" prior had been to visit family.

Excited for the day ahead at the water park, we got the boys ready for bed and set up our sleeping arrangement. Oliver was in the Pack n Play in between the beds, and I would snuggle with Evan in one bed while Ryan took the other.

At one point we thought Evan was going to opt for Daddy, but he soon came back. After only about 45 minutes of craziness, the boys settled down and actually fell asleep by 7:30, which meant that Ryan and I would be forced to fall asleep at 7:30. Let me just tell you, it was great to go to bed that early and just relax.

But alas, not all could be peaceful and uneventful.

Evan is a terrible bed buddy. I knew the child took after me with moving around a lot in his bed. I find him flipped or hanging off his bed most nights, but nothing could have prepared me for his acrobatics. I was forced to a small section of the bed most of the night, but managed to get in some shut-eye.

Then the 5:30 wake-up call came. You guessed it, from Evan. He popped right up out of bed. No rubbing of the eyes or slowly getting up and being groggy. He was ready to rock n roll and then proceeded to wake up his brother. So we were all up at the lovely hour of 5:30 (they usually wake up at 6:45/7:00, and yes, the extra hour or so does make a difference).

The next 3 hours were used to keep them entertained and quiet so they wouldn't wake up the rest of the hotel. I don't know how well we did, but we didn't get any complaints.

Finally, after 3 long hours, we made our way to the water park to have some fun.

To summarize: we had fun. it was cold. we stayed 2 hours. we didn't go back.

The water in the indoor water park was FREEZING! We even went to stay in the wave pool to try and stay warm, but the water was so cold. Oliver's teeth were chattering and we had to keep taking him out to dry him off and dress him. He spent most of the time "wading."

Evan was not impressed. He didn't want to do any slides and was perfectly happy playing with the water hose.

Water park was a bust. Maybe when they're older?

By 10:30 we were all starving. After a few dashes to the bathroom with the boys for potty breaks and diaper changes, we finally made our way to find some food with our food/beverage credit we were given. Nothing opened until 12:00!

This did not go over well with the boys, and so we took a drive and got some snacks to tide us over and then headed back to use up our credit at the hotel's restaurant. I'm glad we had the snacks.

By this point, Ryan and I had decided that after I had my massage appointment, we were going to head home despite the fact that we had another night booked.

The water park was not an option to go back to (freezing, remember) and Mommy and Daddy had not thought ahead and didn't bring any toys for the boys to play with in the room. We tried outlet shopping, but that didn't last long either.

A snow-capped mountain peak in the distance, we made our way back home glad that we didn't plan a long far-away "vacation" to test the waters.

Can't really say we had a lot of muddles, major ones anyway, but to document a family vacation is always good to look back on.

We were all ready to be home.

But the massage was worth it. Oh, yes.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pumpkin Patch Perils

A couple of weeks ago I ventured off to the pumpkin patch with the boys, by myself. What was supposed to be a complete family outing turned into the three of us because Ryan was gone on a business trip.

Someone told me this particular pumpkin patch was enclosed with a fence, so I took that as some reassurance that I'd be safe to go. I actually was pretty excited myself because I had heard about this awesome corn maze they had and other fun activities for the boys.

I decided to tackle the hay ride first and get our pumpkins before going off to do the other fun things. We made it through that without any major incident. The boys ran into the field, picked a pumpkin and were ready to get back on the hay ride. They loved it! Besides a little muddy patches, we made it.

Then the corn maze.

Oh, the corn maze. An activity that would normally have me filled with anticipation for the adventure of finding my way out of the twists and turns. This maze was good. That was the problem. It was TOO good.

That day I had put Evan in his "fall" jacket which is beige corduroy. In other words, he blended in quite nicely with the corn stalks. My oldest son, who takes after his mother when she was a child, always looking for an adventure, decided that he could navigate the maze without me and Oliver. Who, by the way, wanted to walk himself through the maze as well.

I "lost" Evan a few times, and thankfully there were many families there who kept him where he was until I followed his voice. But I learned that it just isn't a good idea to take a 3 year old and a 1 year old into an state-of-the-art corn maze. Everyone at the pumpkin patch knew Evan's name by the time we left.

I was very grateful to get to the point in the maze that had the sign that read, "Congratulations! You made it through the easy part. Turn right to really be challenged or turn left to finish."

We turned left, and Evan whined, "But I don't want to find our way out, Mommy." Yeah, right kid.

I was sweating by the time we were done and we still continued to play afterward on the bounce pillow, feed the animals, and took a "train" ride.

The culmination of the day came to a point when we left and Evan, yet again, ran away in the parking lot. It's like he's reverted back to his 2-year-old self again. He hasn't run away in a parking lot in such a long time. I freaked, of course, and yelled his name over and over.

"Evan! Stop right now! Evan!"

My voice got more panicky with each shout. Cars stopped, people came to my aid, and he just laughed like he was having the time of his life.

"Got your hands full there, don't ya," someone says as they walk past me with their well-behaved child smiling so angelically holding their parent's hand like an obedient child.

"I get that a lot," I replied with that fake laugh where I really want to be sarcastic and say, "Hmmm, ya think. I didn't know. Thanks for pointing that out to me."

We all have our bad days as parents. Our kids have bad days and good days. Some struggle with an area that another doesn't, but as a  parent, you will face a muddle in your life, at some point. It's inevitable.

You can plan, plan, plan, and still things will not go according to, well, plan. And you know what? That's OK, really it is.

I used to be that planner and perfectionist. Disciplining my little cousins or kids I taught, and would think the key was to just be consistent and lay down rules and they'd be respectful and well-behaved little ones. I wasn't one to ever judge parents or think that I could do better, but I definitely had an opinion about a lot of stuff.

But each child is different and each parent has their obstacle to face with raising their kids.

I'm sure there were many at the pumpkin patch who judged me that day or though my kids were unruly and thought that they could do better or their child would NEVER do that. That's OK. It used to really bother me and I'd be embarrassed. However, now I take it all in stride and do my best. I'm not saying there aren't days when I'm frazzled and mortified by muddles I find myself in, but I do my best to "laugh" it off and remind myself that one day I'll look back and miss the mayhem that is now my life.

If you're a parent, I hope you will too. Whatever muddle you find yourself in today.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Revised Scheduling

Before my oldest started school, someone told me that once he went, things would be different. Well, that ended up being true.

My little family's schedule has changed now because of those mere 2 1/2 hours, two days a week that Evan is at school. I  plan my grocery shopping and other errands and tasks during that time because it's a lot easier to handle with one than two in tow.

I didn't learn this right away though. In fact, this week is when it dawned on me that I should take advantage of the time. And after last week's trip to Trader Joes, I'm glad I had the epiphany.

What is it with Trader Joes? Two words - child's cart.

Evan loves the child's shopping cart and "shopping" with me. Last week didn't end up as well as previous trips. It involved 3 deliveries of Evan back to me by store employees, and Evan and I echoing back to each other from opposite ends of the store:

"Mommy, where are you?"

"Evan, get over here!"

Repeat this multiple times. Kind of like Marco Polo.

But this trip ended, well almost, on a happy note when one of the employees whisked Evan away to pick out flowers for me...on the house! Can you said great customer service? However, I asked myself, "Did I really look so frazzled that I needed flowers?"

We made it through the check-out line and to the exit when Evan took off, flowers clutched tightly to his chest as he ran toward the parking lot. Again, another employee grabbed him for me and assisted me to the car and unloaded my groceries.

Trader Joes, you rock!

This latest incident has made me get my schedule back in order. Somewhat, anyway.

Now it's just Oliver and I, and as of right now, he just tries to get out of the cart unless I occupy him with food. It's all about food with that one.

The blogging thing has been hard to juggle among my other responsibilities. I write for my job, and sometimes my brain is so tired, that I don't have it in me to sit down and type my latest mommy muddle.

So I apologize for the lapse in time and the inconsistency of it all. Let it just be an example of what motherhood is like sometimes: unpredictable, inconsistent and at times, overwhelming. Oh, and let's not forget there are moments when it doesn't make sense. kind of like this post.

I have a fun pumpkin patch story, that was quite the muddle, to share; however, that will have to be continued. My brain is not at full working capacity at the moment. I know many of you can relate. At least I hope.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Muddle Mayhem

So you may be wondering where on earth have I been...or not. But I'll tell you anyway.

I couldn't even remember what my last post was, and then when I read it I realized why I hadn't blogged in almost a month. I was getting over "flying solo." And guess what? It's happening again this weekend.

I hope this isn't another indication of a long blogging break. Honestly, I've been in a muddled funk of a mess. Between switching schools for my oldest son and getting into a new routine and work and, let's face it, pure exhaustion, I just haven't had it in me to pour out my hear on my blog and let the world know about the muddlesome messes that were going on.

With my blogging break, I was hoping to come back and not really have any stories to tell or anything to report. I was really wanting to just share some insightful thoughts of motherhood and life in general. Daily musings from a mom that I'm sure so many of you are eager to hear (eye roll).

But alas, I do have mishaps that have happened. So here it goes.

The first being my first experience taking Evan on a field trip. We went to the apple farm and I had Oliver with. Two mobile kids running around an apple farm, that just so happened to have gigantic  pigs behind an electric fence, didn't give me any peace of mind.

Then came the port-a-pottty. Oh yes, I do not joke.

As we were transitioning from picking apples to visiting the pigs to getting on the hayride, I noticed Evan doing the "dance." I don't remember now, but at the time, I somehow convinced him that he had to go potty before getting on the hayride. Seeing his classmates in the distance getting on didn't help the issue.

With our apple totes in hand and discarded coats that they got too hot to wear, I stuffed the three of us in one of those glorious rectangle germ-pools and hoisted Evan up to go potty; but then I had to go.

Let me just tell you, trying to corral a 3-year-old and a 17-month-old in a port-a-potty and then keep them in there while you are balancing ever so carefully so as not to touch anything, while at the same time, yanking your said 3-year-old back so he won't open up the latch for the whole world to behold you squatting over a plastic whole in a box, is quite the ordeal.

I zipped up my jeans while simultaneously tumbling out of the "closet" with the two of them and hoisting all our belongings as we ran to the hayride with Evan yelling out, "Don't leave me, don't leave me."

I was so tired by the end of that field trip. I was kind of, secretly, relieved that the pumpkin patch field trip was cancelled today due to rain. Who knows what kind of narrative I would have had for that one. Don't be too disappointed, I have another one.

This one also involves bathroom discussion. Hey, I'm a mom, would you expect anything else?

I ventured out with the boys last week to Sam's Club. I had 5 things to get. Five, no more and no less. I was anticipating a quick in and out trip; however, I wasn't expecting it to downpour the way it ended up doing.

Thankfully, I got a close enough spot to the front and all three of us in our rain boots clomped into the store and I shoved both of them into the front of the cart.

If I may digress for a moment. Why do Sam's Club carts have the smallest openings for the legs in the carts. I always end up having to pull their shoes off before yanking them out in order to get them out. This always involves lots of protest and tears because I'm taking their shoes off.

OK, back to the story.

As  we began our quick trip, I had already place 3 of the 5 items in the cart and Evan started wiggling.

Uh oh, I thought. Did he have to poop?

"Um, Evan. Do you need to go potty?"

"No Mom. Wait, yes. I really have to go. Get me a pull-up"

Great. There is no way I am schlepping them back out into the pouring rain to put a pull-up on Evan so he can poop in my car, in which case I know he'll demand privacy forcing Oliver and I in some cramped corner in the Highlander because it's raining outside. Things were starting to look strangely familiar. (See one of my first posts about the movie theater parking lot pooping incident)

"Evan, let's go to the bathroom like a big boy!" I tried to show as much excitement as possible.

"No. Pull-up" The kids will not poop in the potty. Still.

I debated if I should risk grabbing the last few items and going through the line, but beads of sweat started to appear on his forehead. The kid had to go.

I raced to the front, mumbled something to someone at the front desk that we had a bathroom emergency and if they could just keep our cart there, and then ran them out into the rain as we all cramped ourselves into the passenger seat.

Why I did this, I don't know. I just wanted us out of the rain. I got Oliver into the back seat to "walk around" and then got to the task at hand.

No pull-ups in the diaper bag. Size 5 Pampers it was.

"Evan, you're going to have to wear Oliver's diaper to go."

"I'm not a baby. I want a pull-up"

I took a deep breath, knowing that to go into the discussion that there is no difference between pull-ups and diapers and it was still being like a "baby" to go in a pull-up, would be futile at this moment.

It was raining, I was about to be stuck in a stuffy vehicle with a pooping 3-year-old who I needed to get a diaper on.

I just went for it. Got the diaper on him, crawled into the back seat with Oliver and told Evan he had privacy.

He did his business, I took care of it and we made our way back inside.

The inconveniences and adventures as a mother are so numerous, that sometimes you, or at least I do anyway, get overwhelmed with the stories you could share or tell people.

These past 4 weeks were filled with many, but these are the only two I remember at the moment because I didn't get any sleep last night.

That 3-year-old I have, yeah, the one who likes to poop in pull-ups in cars, he decided to get up at 2 a.m. and stay awake the rest of the night. Coincidentally, I went to bed at 2 a.m. because of a story I was writing. No sleep and utter exhaustion is the result.

With that said, I will not be going back over this posting to check grammar or spelling or if any of this makes sense.

I wrote a post, and hopefully will write one tomorrow after I get some sleep. Maybe, just maybe, I'll be hit with some inspiration. It's been very few and far between.

You'll never know what you'll read here because I never know what I'm going to post. It could be a muddle or a reflection or experience that can maybe help another mom.

Good night!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Flying Solo

I'm fortunate (I think), that my husband doesn't travel much. Maybe 3 times a year, if that. But alas, the time came this year that he had to go out of town for a week and I was left to fend for myself with the boys. No break, just 24/7 hands-on parenting.

My immediate thoughts were:

1. I hope I don't go crazy
2. I don't have to make "real" dinners
3. I hope I don't go crazy

Surprisingly enough, it was a great week.The boys were pretty well-behaved and actually slept later than usual. I don't know why this is, but I'll take it!

We had dance parties, ate pancakes for dinner, took 4 o'clock baths and made Target runs because we were bored. All-in-all a good week. Oliver and I had our first music class together. I was so happy to have something to do with him one-on-one while Evan is in school. Oliver had a blast and enjoyed it so much. It made me so happy to see him dancing and having time to himself.

Evan only went to school one day this week because, well, we decided that Montessori wasn't the right fit for him. It was a hard decision, and now we're looking for a new school for him. Sometimes the decisions you make as a parent are so difficult, and I'm sure they will just continue to get difficult as they get older.

Even though I flew solo this week and missed Ryan, I have to admit I'm enjoying this relaxing time sprawled out in bed all by myself in my pjs enjoying this quiet "me" time. I have absolutely nothing I have to do. No work. The kids are sleeping.

Sometimes I have so many muddles going on that I don't even realize that I need to just stop once in awhile and relax. Even though I could currently put laundry away, clean the bathrooms, clean the playroom or vacuum. I told myself, "Forget it. Enjoy the peace." So I am. I'm writing this pointless entry because I have no muddlesome story to share.

I caught Evan with the toilet brush in the bathroom, doing who knows what with it, but that's about the extent of the excitement this week. And he sprayed cooking spray all over the front of the oven to "clean" it. So, yeah, not a whole lot to blog about.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

First Day of School

My oldest child had his first day of school this past week. Evan. Oh yes, Evan.

I couldn't believe that this day had come; but let me note that I really don't consider this school yet. I tell myself that real school doesn't start until kindergarten. It gets me through and I have yet to cry about him starting school.

So back to the first day. I thought I'd be more organized and prepared. I find myself too often thinking I'm going to be better organized and prepared, but the truth is, I won't be. I sure like to pretend though. I thought I'd have his clothes laid out the night before and his backpack packed with his extra change of clothes etc. Nope, I was the mom the next morning running around trying to feed both boys, remember his vaccination records, throw his new slippers into the backpack that he has to wear in the classroom, get myself dressed and presentable looking (I didn't even bother with make-up) and make sure that Evan was feeling comfortable emotionally with what we were about to go do. Never mind the fact that I had to get "first day of school" pictures. One with Evan and daddy; one with Evan and Oliver; one with Evan and myself; one with Evan by himself etc. I tried to cover all basis.

Finally, I had all the pictures taken and Evan ready to go. The thing was, I didn't want to be too early and be like the over-anxious mom, but I didn't want to be on the latter end of arrival time giving the perception that I'm an absent-minded mother...who am I kidding, they'll find the truth out eventually.

We love Evan's school and his teachers are as sweet as can be, My only worry was the big field (yes, another field) that awaited us as we exited the vehicle to go into the building. The school is on somewhat of a farm. Lots of outside activity, which is another reason we picked it. Evan loves the outside.

Anyway, Evan was too excited about school to even notice the field. Thankfully. He ran ahead of me with his little Percy the train backpack, stopped for a moment to acknowledge another child entering the building to say, "Hello, my name is Evan. I'm going to school. See ya later." Then ran ahead.

I, meanwhile, am frantically trying to follow him, holding Oliver, my camera, the papers and the tuition check. I ran through the door, having to corral Evan from running down the opposite hallway. I finally decided to put Oliver down to fend for himself so that I could get Evan situated. Oliver waddled away to check out everyone around him.

I got Evan to focus hanging up his backpack, then had to get him into wash his hands and attempted to try and get him to go potty. I knew if I didn't, there was a chance for a first day of school accident and we couldn't have that happening. First impression you know.

I couldn't get him to go and I didn't want to make a scene forcing him to go, so I left it at that. Big mistake, but we'll get to that later.

I ran after Evan as he ran out of the bathroom and attempted to get into his classroom.

"Slippers!" I called after him. He ran back to me.

I grabbed his slippers out of his backpack only to realize I never cut the tags off of them. So amidst the chaos that ensues on the first day, I'm asking the director for a pair of scissors surrounded by a bunch of excited 3-5 year-olds, while my one-year-old is amongst the crowd somewhere.

I quickly did what I had to do and got Evan's feet in the slippers, gave him a big hug (I had to ask him to come back and give it to me) and found Oliver making his way out of the girls bathroom...who knows? I collected Oliver and we left for a fun-filled morning at home together.

My stomach was in knots all morning wondering how Evan was doing. Oliver and I made banana bread and he enjoyed the luxury of having the Thomas train table all to himself. Finally, it was time to make our way back.

I joined the other parents who had already arrived and we waited outside since the kids were playing in the field, although we couldn't see them yet.

Then, there he was. On that cool, misty, grey morning, the class came trudging up the hill holding onto the rope that keeps them all together. I noticed Evan was in the front of the line next to the teacher. Oh, boy.

As they got closer, I noticed he was wearing different clothes. Oh, boy.

Then they got closer and he spotted me. He made a break for it. Oh, boy.

This caused a domino effect and the other kids also ran toward their awaiting parents while the teachers tried to call them back.

"Mommy!" Evan screamed. He was covered in freshly mowed, wet grass from head to toe. Yes, that included his brand new awesome looking dinosaur sneakers that his nana and papa had bought him.

"Did you have fun?" I asked.

He burst into tears and threw himself on the ground in the most dramatic fashion I had witnessed from him. I looked around quickly at the other kids. No other crying or drama.

"What's wrong, Evan?"

"Oh, mommy! Mumble, mumble, mumble. I don't want to go home!"

I quickly was relieved by this answer I managed to get out of him and decipher. He had a good time. Then I remembered he was in new clothes.

"Did you have an accident?"

"Yes, I got all wet."

"Well, we all have accidents. That's OK." I made a mental note that we would avoid this the next time. I just had to figure out how to get him to go potty before class.

We collected his belongings, including his wet clothes in the plastic bag, and as I went to talk to his teacher to see how he did, Evan burst through the door back out into the field. I took myself and Oliver and all of our stuff and ran after him. The director came out and offered to help, but quickly saw that he was distracting Evan even more. It was really nice of him, though.

No one else's child decided to run away. Just mine. Something about the big open spaces of green.

Eventually we made our way back inside to say good-bye and thank you and into the car.

"I had a fun day, Mommy," Evan told me as he got into his car seat. Then he started singing a song they sang in circle time. I smiled.

I think once the excitement settles down, Evan is going to do great in school.

The next morning, I made a little "song" up (really just a chant of words to a beat) that went like this: "Go into school (clap, clap), hang up our backpack (clap, clap), go potty (clap, clap), wash our hands (clap, clap), put on our slippers (clap, clap)."

We "sang" it the whole way to school until he finally said, "Mom, I dont' want to sing that anymore."

It worked though. We got into school the second day and he did everything in order, much to my relief. And when I picked him up later, he was still in the same clothes. No accidents, but he still gave an Oscar-worthy performance when I picked him up again because he didn't want to leave.

This time to get him out of the field back inside (yes, he ran away again), we had a "race" to see who could get there the fastest. I don't know if it will work this week. I'm running out of ideas and that field isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Runaways

Today's adventure had me completely out of control. A position I find myself in quite a bit.

Sometimes, after an unfortunate experience, I ask myself why I set myself up for these muddled situations. I should know better. After all. I've been doing this mom thing for 3 years and 4 months.

My "situation" today resulted in my need to go to a consignment shop to drop off some things I was trying to sell. I thought that it couldn't be that bad taking the boys. I'd go in, they'd check out the stuff and we'd leave.

It all began as we pulled up into the parking lot. I had to get a laundry basket, a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old out of the car and into the store. All while keeping them from wandering onto the busy road it was on.

Evan had been so helpful lately that I decided to change things up a bit. I got him out of his car seat first, and then got Oliver and the laundry basket. At first, it seemed to be working just fine. But as I rounded the back of the car to grab the other one, he ran.

That's right, he ran into the glorious, green field speckled with purple flowers that the store bordered.

One, I freaked because we were on a busy road.

Two, I freaked because my husband is paranoid about ticks and Lyme disease, and Evan, at that moment, decided to throw himself in the green meadow and roll around - giggling the whole time in his splendor of freedom.

So, I did what I find myself doing a lot of. I began yelling. "EVAN! Get over here right now! You DON'T run away from Mommy like that. We are on a busy road. Get OUT OF THERE! NOW!"

This went on for a few minutes. No exaggeration. Besides that, I was late to my appointment with the consignment shop people. I needed as much money for my load as possible. I didn't want to make them mad.

Well, Evan finally came around and we made it into the store.

Oh. No. The store was amazing. It had anything and everything children, which meant toys, books, games etc. It was sensory overload for my sensory sensitive boy. I held my breath as the door closed behind me. This was not going to be enjoyable.

And just like that, he was off. Running up and down the aisles; and then his brother managed to squirm out of my one arm holding him while I desperately shuffled my way to the lady standing at the counter waiting to see what I had brought.

I laid the loot on the counter and proceeded to spend the next 20 minutes trying to keep my kids in the play area they had so thoughtfully set up for kids; however, that didn't keep them entertained very long. They wanted to play with all of the toys that were on sale that they weren't supposed to touch.

As I ran after one, the other one would go the other way. At one point, I ran after the sound of Oliver's infectious giggles only to hear a CRASH echo behind me. I scooped up Oliver and raced back to the "playroom" to find Evan on the floor with the play kitchen on top of him.

"Sorry, Mom. I was playing."  Yeah. Great.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity and running 100 laps around the store and its maze of aisles, the lady had a total for me. I quickly accepted the amount and again turned around to grab the boys - they had run off while my attention was elsewhere, yet again.

The lady sympathetically looked at me and said, "Would you like some help out to the car?"

I squared my shoulders back, picked up Oliver's relentlessly squirming body, and replied, "Yes, that would be great. Thank you."

Evan just had to hear the word "out" and he bolted for the door. The laundry basket of the remnants of what she didn't take were put by the trunk of my car and I thanked her, only to turn around to find Evan in the field.

This time, I went after him with Oliver in tow.

As I entered the grassy ocean, Evan just ran further. But finally, yes finally, he stopped, walked over to me and said, "Come on, Mom. Let's go now."

I can now add kids consignment stores to the list of places not to bring my children. The list continues to grow.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rainy Day Adventure

I'm finally getting out of my funk and getting back to a semi-normal schedule. With that, comes the responsibility of getting back on a regular shopping schedule.

Hence my need to go to Sam's Club today - in the rain.

Before my venture out with the kids, I took in the weather situation outside my window and thought that it seemed to be clearing and the rain was letting up enough that we could get in and out of the store without a problem.

We got our rain boots on and made our way to Sam's.

I had my list and Goldfish and had already given the boys the talk and told them a cinnamon and sugar pretzel awaited them at the end of our Sam's Club adventure...that and the potential of "special treats" i.e. the sample people and their cart of delectable delights.

I couldn't go on the promise of the special treats alone, as it was a Wednesday and I believed they only ventured out around noon on the weekends. I was pleasantly surprised when we entered the bulk food mecca, rounded the corner by the bakery, and found a little old lady giving out samples of ravioli.

The boys were pleased, and I relieved.

After crossing everything off my list and making our way to one more "special treat" cart (this one was cantaloupe), we made our way to the check-out line.

I breathed a sigh of relief - we had made it.

Do you ever do that? Get to the check-out line with the kids after a shopping trip that goes right and just relax. You only have to get the items on the conveyor belt, pay and make it to the parking lot. 

Then there are the times where there isn't even a moment to breathe a sigh of relief because of the terror you have just inflicted on everyone in the store with your screaming kids who won't stay in the cart, are crying or running away from you. You are doing everything in your power to keep them quiet and make it out of the store as quickly as possible. You don't even look at the receipt, you don't care, you just want to get out of there!

That wasn't the case today. A smooth shopping trip, kids only slightly naughty and a cinnamon and sugar soft pretzel waiting for us at the end. Perfection.

We made it through the check-out line, got our cinnamon pretzel and quickly devoured it between the three of us. 

"All right boys! Let's go home. Great job," I told them.

Sometimes I feel like a coach for a pro-sports team as a mom to 2 boys. Giving them pep talks for our outings and such.

As we made our way out of the store after getting our receipt looked over, I stopped in horror as I looked outside to see it DOWN POURING!

Not Good.

I didn't have the option of leaving the boys under the safety of the overhang while I ran and pulled the car to the loading area, as everyone else, who were smart enough to not come out on a rainy day with their children, were doing.

We waited about 5 minutes, hoping that it would let up a bit. I had cold stuff that needed to get home, plus the fact that it was 4:30 and we had to get home to start dinner.

"Alright, time for a rainy adventure!" What  other choice did I have?

Evan squealed in delight. He was excited, to say the least.

I ran the cart through the parking lot, as it continued raining and we all got drenched. I got Oliver out first and snapped into his carseat, and then on to Evan; however,  he had his big, green frog rain boots on and I couldn't get him out. Is it just me, or are Sam's Club's foot holes in the carts super small?

We fought that cart in the rain while, conveniently, a lady  parked next to us, proceeded to pull out and almost hit us. Couldn't she see the predicament I was in and be a little patient?

I finally got Evan out and into his car seat, packed the groceries into the trunk and jumped into the car.

"Mommy, I'm not buckled in!"

I jumped back out, got even wetter, buckled Evan in and jumped back into my seat.

As I took a moment to breathe, I looked into the rear-view mirror and saw Evan and Oliver giggling and talking to each other.

I could have been upset about getting drenched and all of my groceries being soaked, but seeing my boys laughing and "communicating" to each other in the back seat took all of my frustration away.

"That was a super fun adventure, Mommy!" Evan yelled.

"Well, I'm glad Evan."

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Live-in Nanny...Kind of

So, I've been on quite the hiatus. Had family in town, I really don't need to elaborate more.

However, having family in town gave me SO much time to myself...ironically. It was wonderful and gave me a glimpse of what is must feel like to have a live-in nanny.

I've always wondered what it would be like. I've never given my self "permission" before to allow any family members to almost completely take over my mommy responsibilities while I'm around; but for the first time, I let go of my freakishly controlling ways and relaxed.

Boy, did it feel good! No, GREAT! For a little while, at least.

Nana and Papa got up with the boys every morning and I lounged in bed for just a little while longer. They played with the boys while I got to get a jump start on my work for the day and clean up the house.

On the other hand, I started getting a little bit sad because both of my boys seemed to be enjoying themselves without me...their mommy.

Of course they were right by my side when they got a boo-boo or they were hungry or needed some extra cuddles. And I eagerly took advantage of the opportunity to shower them with extra attention.

The thing is, is that I wanted to give Nana and Papa some special time with the boys since we live so far away. So they got bonding time and they had a blast. And I, got to get a small taste of what having a nanny would be like.

These are the things I did enjoy:

  • Getting to lounge in the morning
  • Emptying the dishwasher and cleaning up in the kitchen after breakfast without a little person hanging on my leg
  • Not having to do bath time (I don't particularly enjoy bath time)
  • Finishing my work in the afternoon so I had my nights free to spend more time with my family

These are the things I didn't enjoy:

  • Missing their smiling faces when they woke up and having my 1-year-old's little chubby arms reaching out for me
  • Story time at night before they went to bed
  • Taking walks and talking with my 3-year-old
  • Playing with them in the playroom: building blocks, building train tracks, playing hide n seek etc
  • Extra snuggle time
  • Feeling needed
It was amazing to me how much I missed. There's a lot more to that list, but that's what came to mind first. 

With all of the muddlesome things that go on in this mommy world we live in, I was beginning to miss those muddled moments that would most likely have happened if Nana and Papa weren't here.

You hear it all the time from parents of older children and family members, "You'll miss this stage when it's gone. They grow up so fast. Enjoy it!"

Sometimes I inwardly roll my eyes, and other times I smile and know that they are speaking the truth. But maybe I won't roll my eyes so much anymore? I missed my time with the boys.

Yes, I got a TON of stuff done and was more relaxed at the end of the night and could enjoy family time without thinking of all of the work I had to do once they were in bed, but I found myself just filling up my "free time" with unnecessary work like researching dream vacations or why Victoria Bekham is not wearing stiletto heels anymore.

Plus, I have had no fun stories to share on the blog. Believe me, I know I could have pulled out a few, but I had no inspiration because I wasn't surrounded in chaos for 12 days. Although I did make some mental notes of things to "discuss." Which of course escape me at the moment.

So moms, have you ever dreamed of what it would be like to have a live-in nanny? Or have you shunned the thought and said, "I would NEVER have such a selfish desire?" There are both sides out there. This, I know.

I had a couple of weeks to enjoy the possibility, but realized, I don't think it's so great after all.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mission Impossible

Sigh. I finally have a moment this week to sit down and blog! When I began this endeavor, I wanted to write at least every other day, but obviously this isn't happening. But I guess only letting a week go by isn't too bad?

It's been a pretty busy week with doctor appointments and friends and family visiting, and surprisingly, nothing too muddlesome has happened.

Of course you have the typical small potato muddles that occur in daily life, but nothing compared to some of the real doozies I've faced in my mommy lifetime.

But alas, the day came today where I found myself in quite the predicament, and I'm sure many of you have found yourself there as well.

My 3-year-old, Evan, (yes, I know he seems to be the topic of most of my blogs and poor little Oliver is left out, but I'm sure his day will come...soon) has decided not to take naps anymore.

But wait, someone out there reading is surely saying, "No child decides when he/she is supposed to take naps. The parent is in control and that child WILL take a nap."

Au contraire my little friend.

Evan has always been a fantastic sleeper. He slept through the night early. He was a 2 nap a day baby for a long time and then took some terrific one naps -- until  a month after his third birthday.

The kid has energy. And when I mean energy, I'm talking about a firecracker and a personality to back it up. Life is an adventure for him and he likes to narrate his life to anyone who will listen. So one would think that he would crash around 1 o'clock, maybe even 2?

Nope.

So finally today I had had enough. It's hard for me to balance nap time because I also work my freelance writing job during those few short precious hours, plus trying to get everyday "life" stuff done on top of that that I can't get done while the kids are awake.

Oliver sleeps great and went down for his nap and then Evan went into his room for "rest time." I stick him in his room with books and quiet games, and then finally gave in (yeah, I caved) and let him take the iTouch with him to play games on, too. Anything to keep the child in his room so we could all have a break from one another.

The iTouch works for about 5 minutes and then I hear the pitter patter of little feet as he makes his way down the hallway to my room where I am working.

"Evan, it's rest time. Go back to your room."

"I can't mommy. I can't rest, I'm just not tired."

"You don't have to sleep. Just rest. Everyone needs rest time."

He laughs his infectious, but sometimes evil-sounding laugh, and starts running around.

In fact, just as I am writing this, he has made his way down the hall and, "Mommy, please rub my back." It never ends.

This back and forth banter goes on for an hour until I get him to stay in his room for at least 10 minutes, and then I surrender and say "rest time" is over; although it never really ever began.

So, back to the miraculous, yet cumbersome, thing that happened this afternoon.

I just couldn't deal with the back and forth anymore. I hadn't gone to bed until 2am last night and was just exhausted. Never mind that Mr. Sunshine decided to wake up at 5:30.

He came in for what was probably the 20th time by that point and I told him to hop up in bed and lay with mommy while I did my work. He, of course, was so excited and couldn't sit still in bed.

I put my laptop down and decided to lay with him--I never do this. Never. Not saying it's a bad thing, but I just never have.

I wrap my arms around him and tell him he's a hot dog and I'm the bread and he has to stay still. The I proceeded to put "toppings" on him to keep his attention. Remember, he's a mover and a shaker.

That only lasted for so long, so I utilized his expansive imagination for my benefit and said, "Wow, Evan. Look at all of the stars and planets in the sky (ceiling). Oh, there's a meteor. There's an asteroid!"

He totally bought it and then went on and on about what he was "seeing" on the ceiling. I then covered us up with a blanket over our head and said we were in a space ship and if he closed his eyes, when he opened them we'd be in space.

Before I knew it, I was waking myself out of a drooled semi-sleep with my arm fast asleep under his sleeping body.

Success! Victory! I was SO excited. And then, that's when I realized the predicament I was in.

My arm was caught under him, and in order to sneak away, I'd have to do the impossible: slide it out and slowly make my way out of the bed.

Could I do it? Was it a real mission impossible?

I stiffly shifted my head to glance at the bedside clock out of the corner of my eye. If my calculations were correct, we had only been asleep for 20 minutes or so. Not bad. I could do this.

Then my phone started going off with alerts for email. "Shhhhh!" I told it in my head.

Slowly but surely, centimeter by centimeter, I slid my arm out from under him and slowly rolled my body off the bed and slithered to the floor. The whole time the Mission Impossible theme was playing in my head.

Freedom!

It had taken me 10 minutes, but I had done it and done it successfully.

I know you have all found yourself in that moment. The baby or toddler or child is asleep, and then you tiptoe out of the room, so painstakingly careful, only to misjudge the creaky spot on the floor and it echoes throughout the room. You hold your breath for a moment. Every muscle in your body tenses. You think if you don't move, they won't see you. Yeah, right.

I hadn't found myself on a mission impossible in quite some time, so it kind of gave me a rush. I still had it in me.

But alas, as I open up my laptop to start working, feeling confident, maybe a little overly so, the faint babble of Oliver was in the background.

Didn't it figure. The day the unthinkable happened, Oliver would decide to take a short nap, when every other day he takes a 3-4 hour nap.

Well, such is life. And hey, I felt accomplished for the day.

But it doesn't end there. Oh no.

We are currently bantering back and forth, again, for him to go to sleep. A consequence of him taking a nap.

I don't know what's better. Him falling straight to sleep at night without a nap? Or getting an hour of time to myself in the middle of the day.

Friday, August 12, 2011

My Life, the Broadway Musical

As a mom, there are days that you do anything to get through your day.

Between making sure everyone is fed and cleaned, all the while compiling a shopping list in your head for the grocery store and then being interrupted by some accident or dilemma; never mind the fact that you're running on just a few hours of sleep because one of the kids was awake all night. We really should receive a medal for our creativity to make it through some of those days.

I had one of those days the other day. Shocking, right?

So when I'm having "a day" with the boys, I sometimes start singing. And I'm not talking about songs on the Top 40, I mean made up songs--think Broadway musical style.

Oliver was whining in his highchair that afternoon, and I couldn't figure out what he wanted since he's not talking yet and will only sign to me selectively. Cue music. I began to sing (insert vibrato voice).

"What do you want my child? What can your mother get for you? I don't know if you want Goldfish or an apple or a piece of string cheese too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Evan stopped eating his peanut butter sandwich and gave me a look that silently spoke, "My mom is weird." And he's not even a teenager, yet. Oh, boy.

The wonderful thing that happened, Oliver stopped crying. He too giving me that look.

I forget about the wonders of music and singing sometimes to keep peace in the house on crazy days--although, almost every day is a crazy day.

But, yeah, that's what I do. I sing through my day. Every word. Well, almost.

Sometimes, Evan will join in with me and start to sing; or he will mistakenly think that I'm singing an actual song that he knows and will say, "Mommy, that's not how that song goes." Who knows, maybe I have belted the tune out before?

"We are going to go to the park; la, la, la, la. Because we need to get out of the house; la, la, la."

I'm telling you, it takes them aback for just that brief moment. It's pure bliss. And quite comical to think about as I'm writing.

Of course, I don't do this in public. Instead, I shove (ahem, place) food in their mouths hoping that will pacify them long enough for me to grab what I need and get out.

But knock on my door at any random moment, and you may just hear show tunes coming from the house.

We moms are creative beings. We do crazy, sometimes desperate, things to just survive those trips to the store, a family dinner out or that horrible time between 4pm and 6pm...sometimes it begins at 3:30.

In fact, one time, I had the brilliant idea that I would take Evan, at the inquisitive age of 17 months, out to a mommy lunch with a few of my mommy friends. All of the toddlers were being typical, but my Evan insisted on getting out of the high chair, and no coaxing or distraction seemed to work.

So what did I do?

I grabbed a sugar packet from the pile of sugar and Splenda that had piled in front of him, I ripped it open stuck my finger in the sugar and put it in his mouth.

"Mmmmm, that's good, isn't it sweetie?"

I had him. He stayed in that high chair until his food came, all thanks to the sugar.

I rationalized my frantic attempt to keep him content with the fact that they give infants that sugar water on a pacifier when they need them to calm down or sit still.

It wasn't so bad? Right? Help me here.

I could go on about the countless things I've done in a non-ideal situation (hello, pooping toddler in the back of my car in the movie theater parking lot), just as I'm sure many of you have countless stories, too.

Thankfully the weekend is before us. Fewer mommy muddles happen then. Though not unheard of.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Doctor Visit Dilemma

What do you do when you're a mom of more than one and one of your children has a doctor appointment? You psyche yourself up, put on your game face and just do it.

That's where I found myself today. Oliver had his 15 month well check up visit and I didn't plan ahead, so I prepared myself mentally and emotionally this morning, and last night for that matter, for what I knew would be a tiring morning.

An hour before we had to go, I gave Evan the pep talk.

"Evan, we're going to see Dr. X today for your brother. What are the rules?"

"No hitting and no pushing. Keep my hands to myself."

"Well, yes honey, those are some rules, but we're just going to the doctor, so I need you to stay by mommy and play with the iTouch and be a good listener."

Thank God we got that iTouch back, I thought to myself. So we schlepped off to see Dr. X, not before already having 4 timeouts for Evan that morning--I did not foresee good things in my future, so I promised Munchkins after if there was good behavior.

We made it through the parking lot, through the doors where Evan must push the handicap button to open the doors and to the elevator. We sign in and everything seems to be going wonderfully until Evan make his break-away for the hallway to look over the balcony to the first floor below. To which his younger brother had to follow while I'm trying to fill out some form they gave me.

I ran after the two, still not having the chance to unload the diaper bag in the waiting area. I get both of them back in, bribing Evan with "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" on my Blackberry (the iTouch wasn't working its magic this time) and hoisting Oliver up and shoving Goldfish in his hands.

OK, we are going to make it. But no, Evan was not interested in "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" today, he preceded to, instead, run around the office  "cawing" like a bird. Whatever this "cawing" was, as he informed me, it sure didn't sound like a bird, but some sort of poor, unfortunate dying animal.

In a teeth gritting voice, "Evan, sweetie, we are INSIDE, please stop making that noise and watch the show."

"No, Mom! I'm a bird. Listen to this." The "cawing" got louder. And louder.

As I followed him around the waiting room, giving my apologetic look to the unwilling audience seated before us, Oliver made a beeline for the hallway, at the same time they called our name to come on back. Evan then decided to run the opposite direction into the exam room hallway and open the CLOSED exam door on some ill-fated patient who, I'm sure, wasn't expecting a 3-year-old cawing "bird" to enter and behold them in their paper gown ensemble.

I didn't even look as I yanked Evan out of the room and apologized.

Where was Oliver you ask? Thankfully, the nurse managed to "run" in her high heels out to the main area to grab him for me.

With sweat beginning to bead on my forehead, I grabbed both children and we made it into the doctor's exam room and waited. At least they were corralled now.

A little background on Dr. X. She's fabulous. She is a mom of 2 boys. Just like me. Her boys are 2 years apart. Just like mine. One of hers is a spirited child. Just like mine. She gets it. Totally gets it. And for that, I love her.

Once Dr. X entered and took a look at me, she asked me how I was holding up. I loved this question. Here I was at the doctor for Oliver, and she was seeing how I was doing. Do you know how refreshing that is?

With words of comfort and encouragement, she informed me that I was indeed in the midst of a trying time with the ages I was dealing with, and the fact that I had 2 boys; but then she added that there would be a light at the end of the tunnel...soon.

And with that, I was ready to be on my merry way. But alas, we were here for Oliver. Not me.

The appointment went great after that. I managed to get both boys back to the car, after only having to deal with Evan getting away from me once and a kind elderly lady saying how adorable he was and informing me to not be too hard on him. Yeah, thanks for that.

So, you may ask, "why share all of these "daily" stories of excursions with your child?"

The answer is simple, and albeit lengthy, because it's me who's writing here.

Moms need other moms. Sure, family is great when you live by them (which I do not), but moms need one another in the throes of motherhood. Without each other, I dare say that we'd all go crazy thinking that we were experiencing this alien lifestyle by ourselves.

It is an alien lifesyle.

When you don't have other people in your life who are going through the same daily "trials," you feel isolated and alone and feel like something is "wrong" with you. Not the case. There is always going to be another mom who can one up your story. And it makes you feel better.

I write and share to encourage, make you laugh, inspire and tell you that although you may have a day where you think, "What was I thinking?", we are all in this together.

Even if you say, "Wait, I know this mom and she has it all together. Surely it's achievable to not be a mom with muddles."

I say, you don't know what's going on inside their home, or what she has to go through to achieve that appearance of perfection.

Enjoy life. Enjoy your kids. Enjoy the muddles. We really will look back someday and laugh; and, hopefully, will be able to encourage that mom we see in the doctor's office who's child is "cawing" like a bird and opening up exam room doors.

There were no Munchkins after that.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Three Simple Words

Three simple words changed the course of my day today from one that could have been a "I am going to go crazy" to a "I can do this. I am a good mother" kind of day.

No, they weren't the precious words of "I love you" coming out of the mouth of my 3-year-old or my 15-month-old (that one would've been shocking since he barely says mama), but it was the words, "Good job mama."

This complementary phrase, again, didn't come from my 3-year-old; although it could have, because lately he has randomly been telling me I'm a great mom and thanks me for doing everything...he must be up to something, or perhaps he's mimicking an episode of Caillou. However, it came from a random lady at Trader Joes today.

Yes, here I was at Trader Joes again with both boys in tow. What was I thinking, right? I did it again, I tempted fate. And this time, it wasn't looking so good.

I foolishly promised Evan that he could help mommy grocery shop with one of the little kids carts. He thought that this was a fantastic idea. Once we got to the store, I secretly hoped that all of them would be gone and I'd have to put him in the cart with Oliver--no such luck.

So my harrowing experience at Trader Joes began with Evan by my side pushing his very own cart, and subsequently, wanting to put EVERYTHING in it.

With my list in hand we began in the produce section which turned into the beginning of the big mistake of opening my mouth and telling Evan he could have that cart. Every time I put something in his cart, he would race around and turn back to me smiling and say, "Mommy, I'm going on my branch line, see ya later!" The kid is obsessed with trains and especially Thomas. Everything has to do with "coupling" and "uncoupling" and "bishing" and "bashing..." train terminology for pushing train cars and hooking and un-hooking them.

Great, this cart was now a train. Look out patrons of Trader Joes.

As my excited 3-year-old did wheelies throughout the aisles and raced back and forth with his cart full of my produce, might I add, I hurriedly tried to make my way after him while putting what I needed in my cart, and at the same time keeping Oliver from screeching at the top of his lungs. A new sound he's practicing, no less.

Finally, we were at the dairy aisle and were almost done.

As my patience was about to come to its end after Evan cuts off another customer to "couple" his cart to mine, his little voice shouts, "Excuse me, please go ahead," to a lady who was coming our way.

This was the woman who was about to make my entire day. She smiled down at Evan and then looked at me and said, "Good. Job. Mama."

I was taken aback. All the other adults who didn't happen to have a tiny tot with them were giving me dirty looks, but this woman, with no kids attached, stopped and said those three beautiful words. She then went on to say that it was so nice to hear a toddler with such nice manners.

Now, I have to give Evan some credit here. Even though he was racing around like a mad man throughout the store, when he did cut someone off or bump into them, he did apologize and say excuse me.

As I left Trader Joes, and thought about the next feat ahead of me of taking the kids to Whole Foods during lunch time (crazy again, I know), I thought to myself, "I can do anything!"

That confident thought quickly left when I found myself in the bulk aisle of Whole Foods filling up bags with quinoa and wheatberries while Oliver decided to use his Goldfish as confetti instead of eating them.

This time, I couldnt' tell if I was getting dirty looks for my son throwing the crackers, or if they were appalled that I was giving him Goldfish and not some kind of organic cracker. Oh, the shame.

We didn't stay in Whole Foods very long and made our way home for lunch and naps very quickly.

Getting a complement from a complete stranger about your children is about as high as one can get; especially when your life is full of muddles. That lady will never know how much those three simple words meant to this muddled mom.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Procrastination

So the post about muddles becoming masterpieces is getting a lot of feedback from friends and family. I wish that I had an inspirational post like that every day. Of course, not as the result of a muddle happening, but I'd like to be enlightened more often; however, that doesn't happen when my mind is filled with a list of other things to do...like buying diapers, which I forgot to do.

I, like many moms out there, have discovered the treasure trove of Amazon Mom. It's a discount diaper mecca and I am so thankful for its offerings without having to schlep over to Target to buy diapers last minute. Unfortunately, that's the muddle I find myself in this morning.

I noticed the pile of diapers dwindling quickly over the past week, but thought that I had more time. Not the case. Because this morning as I took my blurry eyed self out of bed and went to get Oliver, my 15 month old, out of his crib, I was shocked to see that only two lonesome diapers remained. My choices were Elmo or Big Bird. I went with Big Bird. Elmo is my secret weapon, and I figured if we had a meltdown on the changing table, I could whip out the Elmo diaper to distract (I use the picture of characters on the diapers to distract my children my having them "talk.")

So, here I am on a Friday morning contemplating my plan of attack. We have 2 eye appointments this morning (I'm currently waiting for my husband to return from his so we can tag team and I can go), and I need to get to Target to get those diapers.

I can either race over to the store now, hoping to get back in time to tag out and get to my appointment, or I can risk the chance of a certain someone soiling his second to last clean diaper before I can get there later this morning. I've decided on the former. That's right, I'm a risk taker.

The thing is, I had ordered diapers from Amazon Mom...yesterday. You get 2-day free shipping when you are a Prime Member with them, so that means the diapers won't get here until tomorrow. Too late.

Where had my planning self going wrong? Why is it that I waited to the last minute?

I am a procrastinator! I said it, or typed it out at least.

And don't think I haven't been racking my brain this morning trying to think of ways to get by without having to by some reinforcements. Utilizing the cloth diapers I had attempted to use for my first son are not an option since I had sold them (my fascination with cloth diapering didn't last very long).

Target it is.

I don't like describing myself as a procrastinator, as I prefer to see myself as ordered and organized. I like to make lists. I like to cross off those tasks and feel the sense of accomplishment that overwhelms me. It's a high for me.

But when I face my reality, I realize that I am not as organized as I'd like to think. Outside of my imperfect perfect world, I dream about a "Martha Stewart" household with everything that has a place and a place for everything. My house runs itself. It's spotless and my kids never make a mess or smear the windows that I just cleaned.

Nice, right?

I, am not that person. I, am a procrastinator. And thus, am still faced with the dilemma of going to get diapers, when, if I had prepared better, I would be having a relaxing morning not worrying about diapers or procrastinating at this very moment by writing this post instead of getting my kids ready to get out the door.

Luckily the eye doctor is right in town.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tempting the Muddle

Everyday I strive to keep as much order in my household as humanly possible; however, as a mother, it often doesn't go as planned.

There are boo boos, sickness, messes, fights, discipline issues and schedule changes. So why on earth would I go out of my way to try and tempt the muddle, when I could have a perfectly peaceful day (well, maybe not perfect and definitely not peaceful) holed up in my house with the boys playing Thomas and watching Word World?

But that's just what I did today -- I tempted that muddle and I didn't look back.

I had so much to do today. An empty refrigerator and cupboard and two very hungry and whiny boys. Plus, I had to go pick something up at a friend's house.

I looked at my oldest son and had a pep talk in preparation for the "adventure" we were about to go on.

"Evan," I said, "We are going to go to Miss Lindsey's house, Trader Joes, Whole Foods and then Sam's Club today! How exciting is this going to be?! But mommy needs your help. I need you to remember what we need to get and I need you to be my extra special helper. Inside voices and keeping our hands to ourselves and you get to ride in the boat (cart)." I said all of this in my most exciting high pitched mommy voice I could muster.

It worked.

He looked up at me and screamed, "Trader Joes is my favorite! Can we get ice cream at Sam's Club?" There is no logical sequence to a 3-year-old's conversation and thoughts at times. Let me also note that Evan has never been to Trader Joes with me.

With his suggestion of ice cream at Sam's Club, and being that it would be our last stop, I told him that if he had extra special good behavior, that mommy would get ice cream at Sam's Club.

It was a good motivational idea. I wished I had thought of it myself.

I prepared THE bag.

THE bag, consists of snacks and drinks and little trinket odds and ends to keep the boys occupied in case of an emergency breakdown in the store. Usually the food does the trick. Especially for my youngest.

In the middle of preparing for our potential muddle of an adventure, Oliver, my one-year-old started to get really whiny. I've been dabbling in dropping his morning nap, but it looked like this morning we would have to hold off on our plans and stop to give him his nap.

My plans were foiled! But I was determined to not let this deter me. Instead, I thought to myself, that this would work in my favor. I could get some work done for my freelance job and have a bright eyed and happy little boy to take to the store when he woke up.

The problem was holding Evan back. He was ready to go Crocs and all. Blue's Clues and a game of Memory did the trick, but after an hour he was getting antsy and I couldn't lose my window of opportunity.

I woke Oliver up and with THE bag packed, we were off. The whole ride there I gave Evan the pep talk and hoped for the best.

We picked up our stuff at Miss Lindsey's house, we made it through Trader Joes with a slight attempt to challenge me by walking to the exit, and then Whole Foods. I was worried the most about Whole Foods.

Whole Foods contained the most items on my list and that place is always busy. But we made it, and they were actually the most well behaved in that store. Thanks to the Goldfish.

Off to Sam's Club and we celebrated with ice cream. Now, I don't always reward good behavior, but Evan often needs a "goal" to focus on; although sometimes the kids surprises me.

We made it into the car just as the first raindrop from the afternoon summer storm hit. It couldn't have been a more perfect shopping trip!

I had won! I felt like I had won the mommy lottery. It doesn't get better than this, and I know many of you can share my jubilation.

Would I tempt the muddle again? I'm not sure about that one. I've had my fair share of shopping catastrophes in my excursions with the boys. But today gave me hope that perhaps I can poke the muddle more than I think. Three stores and a stop off at a friends house was a lot, though.

This day is one for the books.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Muddles Can Become Masterpieces

Of course it would happen that my last post would be cynical of me finding inspiration in my children for my daily post; but alas, today's post is exactly what I was so skeptical about--inspired by my oldest son, Evan.

We all make mistakes; misplace things; forget things.

I took the boys to our local grocery store last week and had the brilliant idea of bringing the iTouch with us so that Evan could be entertained. It was a 2 for 1 when I snagged one of the grocery carts with the built-in car that kids can "drive." Surely, I thought, this was going to be an easy in and out trip.

Sure enough, things went splendidly. We stopped at the bakery for our cookies and then I made my way around the store picking up the few items that I needed.

As I was in the check-out line, I noticed that Evan had placed the iTouch on the seat next to him. I made a mental note not to forget it when we unpacked the cart.

Because of the boys excellent behavior, and my craving for something chocolate, I awarded the boys with a bag of M&Ms. Really, more for me than them, but you know.

We made our way back to the car and I unloaded the groceries and then the boys, still having my mental note of not forgetting the iTouch; however, I got sidetracked as moms often do and had to deal with a slight outburst from Oliver, my youngest. Never mind the influx of people that flock to the area that I live for vacation. The parking lot was full and people were squeezing into the parking spots on either side of me.

I jumped into the car and ripped open the King Size bag of M&Ms and began dishing them out with the AC blasting. It was a hot one. Then, of course, the M&Ms spilled all under my seat as I was turning to place them in the eager little hands behind me. Back out of the car I go to clean up the mess to avoid the future chocolate melting I would find at a later date.

Needless to say, you can get the picture that I had long forgotten the precious iTouch that we had come to rely on to entertain our energetic 3-year-old on plane flights and trips to the store from time to time.

The week went on and suddenly it hit me, this past weekend, that I had no idea where the iTouch went when I realized that I had forgotten about my 10 Words with Friends games that were awaiting my response. Eeek! I freaked and searched the house frantically.

Diaper bag? No. Purse? No. Car? No. I could not for the life of me remember where it had  gone. Then suddenly, as I was up late one night working on the budget, I remember Evan having it in the cart at the grocery store.

My heart pounded. What a mess! A muddled mess! They were expensive. How were we going to replace it? We had personal information on there!

It was way too late to call the store, so I had a sleepless night before me. I got up in the morning and called first thing. Just as I thought, no one had turned it in. I left my name and number with little hope.

Later that morning, I explained to Evan that we had lost the iTouch.

"On, no! Mommy, we losssssst the iTouch-ch-ch!" he cried, and cried, and cried. He's a dramatic one.

I knelt down next to him and said that we could pray that someone would be nice and find it and turn it in and send it back to us. So he prayed, every day, "God, please find the iTouch."

Simple and to the point, I couldn't help but be sad that the chances of someone turning it in were slim to none.

Then it happened. I got a call this morning after spending an hour last night with Ryan changing all of our passwords and double checking that we hadn't been hacked. A man from NH was on vacation with his family and found the iTouch in the parking lot. The battery was dead, so his kids brought it home and had the adapter to plug it in.

He told me that his 8-year-old knew where to look for contact information on it and found my phone number. I was thrilled, to say the least, and then disappointed with myself that my faith had been so small that Evan's little prayer for the iTouch wouldn't matter much at all.

I got off the phone and told him that a nice family had found the iTouch and would be mailing it back. He jumped up and down and then stopped and said in all seriousness, "Mommy, did Jesus find the iTouch in heaven?"

I told him, "Well, maybe he didn't find it in heaven, but he brought someone nice to find it for you and return it."

As I watched him continue to jump up and down and be excited for the wonderful news, I was reminded of how the faith of a child is so incredible. They have no doubt that something will happen. At what age in life do we stop having the faith of a child?

Is it life's circumstances that skew our views and faith? We become doubters, and I have become just that.

This little life lesson that turned a muddle into a "masterpiece," was a big reminder that even the small things in life matter to God and that He wants us to come to Him with all things, great or small. He just longs for a relationship.

To look on my son's face and see the joy he had for an answered prayer, no matter how small to me, was an inspiration. So much so, that I wrote this terribly long post for all of you to read.

I'm looking forward to more muddled masterpieces. I can tell you that much!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Revised...already

After some thoughtful consideration, and thinking about this blog that I have ventured out to be so dedicated to, I've decided that I'm not going to concentrate so much on the muddles in my life (that could get depressing), but instead write about perfect imperfections that happen everyday.

There are so many blogs out there; some unique, some mundane. I don't think this blog is going to be anything out of the ordinary. Mommy blogs are kind of the "it" thing to do, especially when you are a stay at home mom, and especially when you have a desire to write and this is one of the few outlets to do so.

I have some friends that use their blog as a documentation of their child's life. I think that's amazing and often find myself envying their dedication to chronicling their child's first day of school, first words or cute things they've said. I long to be that organized, to do those things. I tend to gauge my mothering ability on things like that, but as I enter my fourth year of mothering, I remind myself that that could just make me go crazy. Besides, I have boys and they won't care about those things. Right?

I'm looking forward to this week. My first full week of taking on this blogging thing. Last week was a rough one. My spirited 3-year-old gave me a run for my money, but I'll leave that to another post.

I hope that with each entry I will grow as a blogger. That this exercise I am venturing out on will develop into something more organized -- an adjective that some would describe me as, but I know the truth.

Right now I have no direction to where this will go. Simply another mommy blog to enter the blogosphere, but maybe  the things that I will write will inspire, encourage or give hope to other mommies out there. And I hope will bring out a few laughs from time to time.

What I really worry about is the daily inspiration I'm going to need to write everyday.

"Find inspiration in your children."

Sure, easier said than done. It sounds nice and warm and fuzzy, but let's be real here. There are only so many "life lessons" I can obtain from them. I mean, I hope they give me ideas to muse over and think about, but I don't plan on relying on them alone to help me with this blog.

So for today's post, I admit this is a bit of a rambling one, and I must regretfully inform you that you'll probably read many rambling posts. I tend to be a rambler.

I'll need to be held accountable too, but for that I need readers. And to get readers, I need to announce to friends and family that I've started a blog.

I don't think I'm ready, yet.

Maybe in a few more posts.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Having "To Go" With No Place "To Go"

My oldest son Evan is 3. He's what you would call pee pee potty trained.

Like most toddler boys I've heard about, he refuses to go poop in the potty. We've had a few victories here and there, but nothing consistent. Frustrating to me and to my husband.

It just so happened that I was driving the boys around one Saturday morning a few weeks ago, trying to keep them entertained while Ryan and a friend moved us to our new house one town over.

Suddenly, Evan announces from the back seat, "Mommy, I really have to go poo poo!"

My initial reaction was, "This is fantastic news! He never tells me when he has to go poo poo. He holds it until nap time or bed time when he has his pull up on. Maybe we're making progress?"

I smiled to myself and glanced at him in the rear view mirror and said, "That's wonderful, sweetie. We're almost home and we'll go poo poo on the potty!" I tried to make it sound as exciting as possible.

"No, mommy! I need my Diego pull-up now! I don't want to go on the potty. I have to go. It's coming!" Which he then proceeded to squirm erratically in his car seat.

I looked at the road ahead of me and had to think fast. I didn't have a pull-up with me, I only had my one-year-old son Oliver's diapers with me in the diaper bag. They are a Size 5, but I thought it just might work.

There was a movie theater ahead, so I pulled into the parking lot and parked toward the back where there weren't many cars. I raced out of the car, got Evan out of his car seat and opened up the trunk. We drive an SUV, so the trunk is open in the back.

Before he could say anything or protest, I pulled down his pants and underwear and put him in a size 5 Elmo diaper.

"OK, honey. You're going to have to go poo poo now."

"I need privacy mommy. Go away!"

Instead of being concerned about his lack of manners and telling me to go away, I nervously shut the trunk door and got back into the drivers seat and waited. And waited, and waited, and waited.

I frantically looked around hoping no one would be suspicious of a 3-year-old pooping in the trunk of our vehicle.

Soon my worries were overwhelmed by a terrible smell. He was done, he had to be.

"Evan, are you all done now? Let mommy take it off and let's get home. OK?"

"No, I'm not done mommy. I need to go some more."

He seemed like he was in some pain, so I let it go. Finally, the smell was just too much and I got out of the car and opened up the trunk. Like an animal cornered and praying for its life, Evan was scrunched into the corner trying to get as far away from me as possible.

"Evan, we need to get you out of that diaper now. We have to get home!"

"No!"

"No is not an answer to your mommy. Get over here!"

This went on for a few minutes. I was so nervous and paranoid that someone was going to wonder what we were doing, that I just wanted to get out of that movie theater parking lot.

Finally, I got a hold of him and got to change him back into his clothes and got rid of that diaper fast.

As we were driving home, I thought how in the world did I end  up in a parking lot with my three-year-old pooping in the trunk?

I then began to realize all of the other options I could have had, but rationalized my decision with the fact that I would have had to deal with both boys somewhere with Evan wanting privacy while pooping.

An embarrassing story to me a the time and especially now as I read back over it because there were so many other things I could have done; however, when you find yourself in a mommy muddle, sometime you just don't think clearly. You do the first thing that comes to mind whether it be logical or not.

What would you have done?

Introduction

Here it goes.

I'm starting on my blog quest again. Blame it on trying to keep my sanity, wanting to exercise my writing skills more or looking for an outlet to confess to anyone out there willing to listen that being a mom is not always a picture perfect situation.

I want this blog to be honest. I want this blog to make moms realize that they're not alone in the muddled messes they find themselves in. I want moms to send their stories in of funny situations they have found themselves in to simply survive -- we've all been there.

I'm going to share some stories on here that hopefully will make you laugh and not judge because if you can't find the humor in being a mom, it's hard to make it day to day. At least that's what I've found out in the 3+ years I've been doing it.

The story of how this blog came about isn't so glamorous, as motherhood rarely is. But I found myself multitasking one morning, last week actually, and I realized that I only had 5 minutes to "get ready" for the day (we were going to a playdate) before my husband had to get to work.

I ran upstairs debating whether I should pee first or flat iron my hair or attempt to put make-up on (a rarity in my daily routine). When I got to the top of the stairs, I realized that I could do two things at once. My flat iron was already plugged in and had a very long chord. So I took my trusty flat iron and stretched it across the bathroom while I peed.

Gross? Maybe. Necessary? Absolutely!

So as I was sitting on the potty, frantically flat ironing my hair without a mirror, I stopped. I looked at the flat iron in my hand and realized what desperate measures I had come to and wondered how many other moms out there had done something similar, or perhaps the very same thing.

I started laughing at myself, something I do daily, because I started to recount the numerous stories of things I've had to do for "survival" in my motherhood journey.

That's when I started to write this blog and share my story, and hopefully at some point, some of your crazy stories. Whether you want it to be anonymous or not, I'm hoping that as I share my mommy muddles, you will be comforted that you are not alone in the great lengths you've had to go to in order to keep your family moving along.

A diary of sorts, as I suppose most blogs are, I hope you find laughter, love, joy and solace in my musings on my muddles in motherhood and life in general.