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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.