Boys of Summer

Boys of Summer

It’s the end of July, and you know what that means:  BABY GOT CLASS!  Thank Jesus.  Y’all, I can’t take much more of this summer “vacation” bologna.  Daycare drama is infinitely more “Days of Our Lives” than grade school could ever be.  You know Gabe came home a few days ago saying how most of his friends have girlfriends?  THEY’RE FIVE.  Six, tops.  Thanks a lot, MTV.  When I was six, all my parents had to worry about was whether or not I’d come home with gum in my hair… again.  They never worried about me and my siblings coming home all, “Yeah, so I met this guy at recess today.  We totally took a nap together after he shot Cheerios out of his nose.  I think he’s The One.”

Gag me with a spoon.  Kids that young don’t even KNOW the struggle and its realness.  But, I digress.

Anyway, school’s coming up soon.  I’m excited enough to go school shopping on the second craziest weekend of the year (tax free weekend) yet still dreading the unavoidable emptying of my pockets.  The kids’ birthdays are also in August, so we’re already tapped out.  But it’s alright, because school!  Do the thing, make the grades!

e1b2fefa4556af3e7671ebaef5b9673b

I took the boys’ “annual day of birth” pictures early this year because this month is already jam-packed full of open house meetings, doctor’s appointments, and other various activities.  They were not completely thrilled with my decision because A) it was hot and B) they’re kids and don’t like to cooperate.  Such is life.

906042_10207725294989525_4475533717983669934_o

11754527_10207725295069527_5730241408577479112_o

their excitement is overwhelming.
their excitement is overwhelming.

We made it out alive, but barely.  I don’t understand the headache of birthday pictures… or just good pictures, in general.  If I tell the kids to say cheese at 7 A.M. on a weekend, fresh out of bed, in just their underwear and superhero capes, it’s not problem.  “What’s that, you say?  You need a bad millionth picture of us?  Absolutely!”  But good pictures?  “What, mom?  You need us to cooperate?  These pictures are going to family, you say?  Hang on… let me bang my head through a wall.”  Drinks may or may not have been had after the fiasco that from here on out should be called, “annual day of mom forgetting what a pain in the ass this is” picture day.  At any rate, we’re at the weekend.  Praise Jesus!  I’ll probably be begging Monday to carry its ass in t-minus twenty-four hours.

Happy Friday, y’all.

Advertisements
Video

Who Says I Can’t Have Non-Mom Friends?

I mean, seriously.  I’m not stupid; I know it gets harder to have non-mom friends, especially if you have kids under the tween years.  I have two little bodies in my care that come in waaay under that radar.  But I still have a handful of pals that aren’t moms.  I love them dearly and in a different kind of way.  Kind of in a, “I have milk, juice and boogers all over me, and you still call.  Or text.  Or Facebook.  Thank you,” kind of way.  I don’t get to see them often and it blows.  But I haven’t been cut off and they’ve never made me feel that way.

I’m tired of hearing other moms whine about not having those wild friends that they used to have.  Not being able to go out and get crazy.  Well honey, unless you’re a Kardashian or whatever, you kind of turned in your party-girl card for a mini-van card upon entry into the pregnancy zone.  Welcome.  Enjoy your stay.  Here’s a burp cloth; you’ll need it.

c643038deb04806869d51d800b3e2afd

There’s nothing wrong with going out with your girlfriends — whether they be fellow moms or not.  I went out recently with my usual trio and had a blast.  We went to Chili’s and hit up a few low-key bars and called it a night.  One of the four of us isn’t a mom.  We didn’t regale her with spit-up stories (not a ton of them, anyway), and she didn’t try to get us so hammered that we were in need of nanny care.  We had a good time just enjoying each other’s company.

Life does change, though.  And it has a funny way of doing so.  I used to have a phone full of numbers that I could call at any given point and have a buddy for a night out.  Wednesday night margaritas?  Tuesday night at Finnegan’s?  Why the hell not.  I lost those friends slowly when I got pregnant with Gabe six years ago.  At first I was bummed out.  Here I was, 20 and pregnant, with swollen ankles to boot.  And there were all my friends, 20 and bombed out of their minds, sans swollen ankles.  But it didn’t take me long to get out of that funk.  Nine months without a hangover was truly a blessing in disguise — even if it meant having cankles.  And, as luck would have it, I was never really alone.  Aside from the three jobs I was holding down, which pretty much kept me preoccupied, I still had friends that would take time to come see me.  Go have lunch.  Bring me sweet baby things.  So the absence of former friends, turned acquaintances didn’t really phase me.  I learned a pretty valuable lesson then and at a very young age: good friends are friends even when it isn’t convenient.  And my pregnant, waddling ass was anything but convenient.  As a matter of fact, the three ladies I went to dinner with are some of the very same who helped keep my chin up all those years ago.  And they were still around when I went through the same song and dance with Connor.

In short, we’re getting older.  Not old, just older.  We have responsibilities that must be seen about — nevermind that those responsibilities are under 4’0″ tall.  Going out and having a good time doesn’t have to stop just because the majority of our days are spent cleaning up ketchup from the walls and wearing the same shirt with the same strained pea stain for the third day in a row (no judgement if it’s actually a pee stain.  we’ve all been there).  But part of growing up is being able to separate ourselves from whatever distracts us from moving forward.  For example, the hubs and I canceled our cable not too long ago because every five seconds we were changing the channel due to not-so-kid-friendly programming… that, and both the kids figured out how to get the lock off the remote and discovered HBO (stay with me… there’s a point to this).  Point is, some people are like HBO; nice to have as an option, but not worth the hassle of changing every other scene.  Catching what I’m throwing?  Therapy, guys.  It’s expensive.  And it’s ALWAYS the mother’s fault.  And think of it this way: maybe saying goodbye to your HBO friends isn’t such a bad thing when your daughter wants to take pole dancing lessons and your son is giving his best John Travolta from Pulp Fiction impersonation to the preacher.. for the fifth time.

At any rate, whining about not having non-mom friends isn’t productive; it’s counterproductive.  Nobody likes a whiner.  Maybe it’s not the fact that you have kids that is a deterrent; maybe it’s because you whine about not having friends.  That’s pretty annoying.  So go find mom friends — believe me, they’re not rare creatures.  Find people who understand what it’s like to be thrown up on at midnight without it being alcohol induced.  People who have also had to pull Lego’s out of nostrils and ear canals.  People who understand what it’s like to hear continuously, “Mo-om!  I’m hungry! Sister hit me with a brush! Brother won’t get out of the bathroom! Wipe my butt!”

Or, hell.  Reconnect with some of your childless friends.  So what if they don’t have kids and you’re walking around with a kid strapped to your ankle?  It can be done.  I know this because I do it on the semi-regular.  Another fun little factoid?  The older we get, and the more we have on our plates, whether it be changing diapers or trading stocks on Wall Street, the less time we have for outside friendships.  It’s a suck-y fact of life.  But it’s a fact of life, nonetheless.  Embrace it, though.  It means you’re growing up.  And although adulting is not always fun, at least we’re not forty and living in our parents’ basement with ten-thirty curfew.

I don’t see my girlfriends as often as I’d like and I hate it.  But they understand I have a life outside of girls’ nights and ditto for them.  We have each other’s backs and ears when needed — and really, it doesn’t get better than that.  I can’t hang like I used to, anyway.  So until we all have the luxury of being empty-nesters, take people up on mommy-and-me dates.  Have a monthly girls night.  Whatever strikes your fancy.  Just make sure the only w(h)ine being served pairs well with cheese.

Meanwhile, until you can set up a sitter or wrangle up some of your favorites, watch this movie on your down time.  It’s worth the Redbox code, I swear it.

Everything I’ve Learned. . .

Everything I’ve Learned. . .

. . . I’ve learned from my kids.  Everything.

I’ve learned how to live.  I’ve re-learned how to love.  I’ve learned how to hold my tongue and I’ve learned that sometimes I let my crazy out a little too long.  I’ve learned how to laugh and how to suppress one when they’ve done something “naughty but good Lord that’s hilarious”.  I learned how to hold my face in just the right way so as not to cry when Gabe broke his arm… because momma needed to be tough but gah.  I just wanted to bawl.  I’ve learned that expensive toys are fun.. but blanket fort Fridays are the best.  I’ve learned that they haven’t had all the learning time that I’ve had and that I need to be a little more patient.  How to read a book with at least five different silly voices.  How to sing songs over and over just so they’ll have sweet dreams.  How to be tough.  How to let up.  How to be a mom and how to let my kids be kids… although, that is admittedly a work in process.  That said, I’ve learned more in 5.5 years than I had in 21.  And to say it’s been informative, hectic, and humbling?  That’s putting it lightly.

My kids, man.  They’re nuts.  And they make me nuts.  Like, with the-fire-of-a-thousand-suns crazy.  Or cray.  Or whatever the kids are calling chaos these days.

content (1)

I am most definitely not a typical mom.  In fact, I’m the least maternal kind of mom I’ve ever known.  I can be crazy impatient and shockingly distant seeming.  I detest shrill noises (hurts my ears like you wouldn’t believe) and, to be honest, before I had kids I had only met a handful of ankle biters that I genuinely liked.  I love babies in all their sweet little ways and cuddles and coos.  But babies grow into tiny heathens and have more energy than I could ever have.  And it’s not that I don’t like them.  It’s that I don’t know what to do with them.  You know… being the “old soul” that I am, and such.

At any rate… I have these two mad-chaotic little guys who make me nuts and tired.  And just when I think I’m about to lose every ounce of sanity I have left, one of them does something crazy-sweet that makes me fall in love with them all over again.  And harder than I had before.  Love, love, love, love… crazy love.  And I think that’s the beauty of this parenting thing.  I do.  I think parents, even the not-so-great-at-it kind like me, have this innate gift inside of them.  That no matter how disappointed or angry we are at the moment… there’s always the moment after.  Always the reminder.  And it’s not always a fuzzy feeling kind of reminder, either.  No.  Sometimes, it’s a cold, hard fact reminder.  Sometimes, it’s an eye-opener.  Sometimes… sometimes, it’s a blast to the past that reminds us of our own former, and even present, ways.  It is for me, anyway.  I see the kids making the same mistake I very vividly remember making myself occasionally and I scream to myself, “Oh my God… there’s the gene pool.”  And it is.  But in those moments, I eventually find peace and wisdom.  And a little lot of humility.  And I can calm down.. and calm them down.. and reassure them that, “Hey.  I’m a little disappointed.  And that’s okay.  Because you’re mine.  And I’m with you.  And you’re with me.  Always.”

little ones

I ask myself to ask God on a regular basis why.  Why was I given these kids with these particular problem sets?  Why do I never seem to be going in the right direction or doing the right thing?  Why do I stammer over my words and flip-flop around like I’ve no brain at all?  Why???  And before I can even ask him all the why’s… it flies at me.  Because no matter how frustrating or humbling or fearsome parenting can be… it really is a gift.  Every time one of the boys hug me for absolutely nothing at all.  Every hand-print picture (I’ve kept them all.  Every one of them).  Every kiss, every “I need you”, every blessing at dinnertime when Gabe says, “God is grace, God is grace, let us thank him for our food”…. everything.  No matter how horrible I feel.  No matter how enraged I’ve been.  No matter the broken dish or the spilled milk or the fight over the toy.  It all sucks.  But, then again, it’s all good.

I’m hard on my boys.  And I’m hard on them for good reason.  Sometimes, I am too hard.  And I hate it.  I do, truly.  But I want them to grow up capable.  I want them to grow up smart and independent and motivated and determined.  Not scared, like me.  Not timid and bashful and silent like me.  I want them to use their voices; I want them to use their minds and vision.  I expect them to grow up to work for their life — not to make their life, but so they might have one worth living.  To see the world.. to experience and learn, always.  To have a “can do” attitude.  So that one day, they won’t be like their momma.. terrified to walk into a freshman course on their own.  Terrified to speak to a cashier.  Scared to death to move.

That’s how I was until I held my boys.  Scared of the world.  Scared to live.  Until I held their little bodies in my arms.  And all that fear hit me and then began to fade away.  When the boys took their first breath, they gave me a life I never knew.  Each gave me a key to my whole new life.  And so every morning I wake up.  I roll out of bed and begin the monotony that is adult life.  Not out of obligation.  But out of desire.  So they can hold their dreams… not just wish for them.  And I’ll be the first to tell you, 5 A.M. sucks.  It blows.  And so does rush hour.  And people who melt chocolate into their copiers (yep. that happened).  And temper tantrums.  And blow-out diapers.  And eating dinner at 8 o’clock.  And the list goes on, and on, and on.  But my life would suck all the more if I did not have my crazies.  If I didn’t have someone to come home to every night.  If I didn’t have someone who needed me so hard.  I waited a long time for someone to need me… not knowing that was what needed.

So, all you tired and exasperated mommas out there thinking you cannot possibly handle one more tantrum in Target or one more blow-out at the self check out?  Or, “Why on earth are the fish sticks sticking to the non-stick pan and could you please, please, please stop whining?!”  I’m with you.  A hundred and ten percent.  But you’re doing fine.  And, hey — therapy might not even be a thing in eighteen years.  So just hang in there.  Do your best.  Say you’re sorry when you should and hold firm when they need it.  And when the clock strikes bedtime, pour yourself a drink and know that I’m downing one, too.  Only one, though… because my kids have all the grace of a peg-legged goat on ice.  But that’s alright…. because they’re worth it.  Every last bit.

Happy Mother’s Day.

August on My Mind

August on My Mind

This Mother’s Day I am being hurdled through a wave of emotions.  I am overwhelmed by so much — just as we all are.  I am especially overcome, however, with the seemingly accelerated on-coming of August.

August, Sarah?  Really?  Yeah.  Really.

August, because my oldest will start “big boy” school.
August, because he’ll be four.
August, because that is his biggest step towards independence.
August, because he’ll need me less and less.

August, because we’ll be celebrating a new life in Connor.
August, because as one child lets loose, another will cling.
August, because my two greatest blessings and challenges will be on my heart and mind endlessly  — as if they’re not already.

August will be the closing and beginning of chapters.

Any other time the days would roll by as slow as molasses.  But now?  They hurdle through time at suffocating speeds.

I say all of this as if it were awful.  Honestly, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited.  I most certainly am.  These “chapters” — they are phenomenal advancements in my life.  Truly beautiful little lights that I swore I’d never possess; amazing adventures that I will get to watch unfold.  And now, here I sit, captivated.  Taken by all the good that has swept me up in nearly four years.  Frustrated — and yet, smitten with my life.

And it is still so overwhelming.  Such a curious thing.  Yet, I know as bewildering as it all seems now… come the fall it will just be a vivid memory.  Bittersweet in it’s very essence.

I am ready to have both of my boys in my arms — regardless of time’s terrifying rapidity.  Ready to see the only two little souls that have shared my heartbeat.  And, yes, ready for my August time fears to dissipate.  Ready to see the three loves in my life — all at once — that let me know this life is worth living and giving.

This Mother’s Day I am overcome with a medley of feelings, yes.  Both satisfying and excruciating.  But I have been given a life I have never deserved because of the lives I, too, have given.  And, truly, I am blessed to feel this way.  I feel these things, all of these things, because I am a momma.  And there is nothing in this world I’d take to replace its intensity.

Nightmares, Insomnia, and Howling Cats — Oh My!

Nightmares, Insomnia, and Howling Cats — Oh My!

monsters2

Ohhhh, Lord.  Lately, our house has been lovingly irritatingly deemed, “land of the Walking Dead.”  No, we’re not hosting a “hug your favorite zombie,” event.  Gabe has, for quite some time now, had some pretty intense nightmares (involving favorite cartoon characters, no less), and I have been suffering from a severe case of pregnancy-induced insomnia.  Also, we have a tomcat that pretty much calls our side yard “home” and howls… bellows… hell.  He’s just loud as shit until ungodly hours of the night.  Our cat “found” him and the two correspond in nerve-wrenching cat speak until we have enough and put her out of our room (yay for simple solutions!).  At the risk of angering anyone from PETA, I’m about ready to put the other cat out of our his misery.  Because seriously… clam up.

But my boy.  It’s pitiful, really.  He’ll get up between 11:30 and 2 and just stand in the hall, audibly upset.  Sometimes we find him on the couch, and occasionally he’ll come get one, or both of us, up.  Until recently, we couldn’t put our finger on what was giving him these nightmares.  We’re pretty careful about what we watch in front of him and he doesn’t watch anything that would give him night terrors.

Or so we thought.

Finally, a few weeks ago, he clued us in that the “ghosts” in his room –ready for this??– are Scooby Doo ghosts.  Hold on, say whaaa?  I’ve let him watch the old Scooby Doo’s for a while now.  I loved them when I was a kid and, even though there’s no “value” to the cartoon outside of sheer entertainment, I thought it would be something okay for him.  Something he’d enjoy.  Because, really, what little guy doesn’t adore that speech-impaired dog?  But, nevertheless, we cut out Scoob.  And still the nightmares continued.

One night while we were still up he came to get Ev to remove the ghost.  So, in they marched.  Equipped with a spray bottle of water, Evan and Gabe hollered, “Get outta here, ghost!”  It seemed to work for a few nights, but to no avail, picked right back up.  Once again, Evan went in to calm Gabe down and it must have dawned on him the problem (thank God, ’cause it never would have occurred to me): the “ghost” could be the white fort Gabe had in the corner of his room.  So down it came.

And voilà!  Ghost-be-gone.  Gabe has been nightmare free for a week now.  Thank GOD.  At least someone in the house is sleeping.  And, to be honest, hearing a the faint noise of a child crying at 2am?  That’s pretty frightening in and of itself.  Now if we could just solve, “The Mystery of the Sleepless Mommy.”  Maybe my insomnia is just bracing me for sleepless nights when Connor arrives?  Good lookin’ out, self.  Good lookin’ out.

And to all you other momma’s out there: Happy Mother’s Day!

Buzz Kill

Buzz Kill

I taught my son how to hunt today.  How to hunt horse flies, that is.  One flew into the house somehow, and I spent probably close to thirty minutes swatting at and chasing it with a broom.

Yes, a broom.  Give me a break… he was a big’n!  I still haven’t gotten him.  Had it not been Gabe’s bath time I’d have gone all Rambo & decked out with a bandana & war paint to boot.  I did, however, enlist Gabe in the finding & killing of the horse fly.  I’m ashamed to say that I let my child roam through the house naked in hopes that maybe, JUST MAYBE, it would fly along and Gabe would pee on it.  No such luck.  In fact, Gabe wasn’t much help.  I’d swat at the fly in a fruitless effort to get ’em, and he would die with laughter.  Seriously… he was cracking up!  And I guess had I been watching myself I’d have laughed, too.  It probably looked pretty funny… some crazy lady seemingly swatting at the air and a little naked guy following her laughing hysterically.  Definitely YouTube material.  Who’d have thought one evening could sum up the last few weeks of my life?  Go figure.

Anyway.  Mother’s Day for the two of was:
A) Uneventful
B) Hectic
C) Inspiring.

If you answered “B”, congratulations.  You win.  What do win?  ….how’s a pat on the back sound?  From 6:00am Sunday to 9:00pm that evening, we were up & running.  I even made the mistake of going to Wal-Mart.  Bet you didn’t know that Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year at Wal-Mart… second only to deer season.  I saw more people piling out of there with flowers than I care to think about.  Here’s a hint for next year guys:  If you wait until the day of to buy your mom a gift, flowers just will not cut it.  You must a) buy her a car & b) pay off her home loan.  If she doesn’t owe anything on her home, option “b” becomes void & you must buy her a new home.  Hey, don’t blame me… it’s not my fault you forgot your mom.  And speaking from someone who is officially a mom?  We don’t expect anything… really, we don’t.  But since we did push you out of our uterus, it would be nice if you could at least throw a card our way saying “Thanks for pushing me out of your uterus.”  Ok, that would be inappropriate.  A simple “Thanks, mom” would be great.

Food for thought.

Oh, Lord. THIS WAS ME!