A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Because We Always Go There

17 years ago yesterday, a boy and a girl had their first date. They ate Greek food at her cousin's restaurant before his shift at the BW3. If you jump forward 17 years exactly, that boy and girl became a family. A family that has, without fail EVERY single year since moving to Georgia travelled north to Burt's Farm in Dawsonville for our pumpkins.

Our First Year looked like this:
And then the next year it was like this:

The next year it was a bit like this:
I am MISSING a damn picture but two years later it looked like this:
Then there was TWO years ago:

We're a Burt's Farm October family. My pictures are scattered and it makes me want to scrap book and collect them better. Burt's Farm means it's time for FALL and everything that comes with it.
We eat treats and have a little picnic, this year featuring BBQ nachos. BARBECUE? NACHOS? I'm in. SIGN ME UP. They were just ok though. A better idea than execution. 
After our treats we rode the hay ride and listened the pumpkins tell us how GOD GUTS US or something like that. 

Sometimes I write about us just doing stuff, random family stuff, like this. You might think it's a sort of boring "this is what my family did today" kind of journaling. But it's not. 

My doing family random things is me showing you that even if you have very special little guys, you can live your life. It's not easy. I do diaper changes sitting in the back seat of the van and we do some gymnastics to get it done and I pray to the God of the Pumpkins that they didn't poop because OMG that's hard to clean. So before we go in we change two big boys diapers, and then we go in for the day. Sometimes there are tantrums if there are lines, or screams if there dogs (Miles) but all in all, they have fun despite anything bad that happens.

I don't write a lot about the ugly poop filled parts of the day. But they are there. 

But they don't stop us. They don't stop us from celebrating 17 years since our first date, or all the days in between that made us a family. 

I can't wait for Halloween. It's going to be a great one this year! 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Some Days Have More Costumes

We made the trek across town to the twins club fall party which was featured bbq this time (yay for living in the South). Louis chose to be Muldoon from Jurassic Park, his current obsession. He's going to be going around yelling SHOOOOT HER!! SHOOOOT HER !!! I can see it now. 
 There was a bounce house for everyone and although the twins were the biggest boys in it, they were also the happiest boys in it. It's kind of hard, more than hard, because although they are big ten year old boys, they still very little boys. Bounce houses are still amazing to them, they're just the biggest very little boys inside.

 The bounce house featured a slide which a brave 4 year old ventured onto without fear.
 The twins are Ninja Turtles and I was kind of excited that they GOT IT this year. They knew we were dressing up in costumes for fun,and were willing to put them on. Not so much the masks, but at least I managed one pictured. Charlie was sort of unamused by it. But he didn't freak out and that's also a win.
 We had a Costume Parade complete with treats along the path which was a perfect practice run for Halloween in two weeks. I think all four of them are ready for the main event.
 Julia made a little friend who at first I think she was annoying, but then finally the little girl realized that Julia was ENAMORED of her, she had on an ELSA costume you see and well isn't that all you need to know? After the parade, they compared loot.
 The party was at a park, and obviously next to the bounce house, being able to play on the playground was a huge attraction. Luckily Muldoon doesn't feel obliged to hunt Ninja Turtles.

 I wish I had an action shot of the FURY with which she rode this thing. I was cracking up - ROCKING IT WITH RAGE. It must've been a lot of fun.

 I always love things that make Charlie so happy. He's my little guy who would rather spin a string than play with toys, so all opportunities when he gets to play and does so are great. He was playing with his siblings and bouncing, laughing like crazy in the bounce house.
We should get a bounce house. If I ever build a house, I'm definitely putting one in.

After a full and fun time at the Fall Party, Julia had soccer and so we sat in the hot sun but cold wind while she played.
She's the blonde whirlwind on the field. Well the blonde.......goofball.

We sent Louis to a trunk or treat event with his friend's youth group at a nearby UMC and he got to work and help out the trick or treaters. He had a great time and I think he got a much needed break from the chaos of our house for a few hours.

I think it was a much needed break even in the middle of a busy fun day. This life is loud and chaotic.

But it's ours.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It Was International Night

Middle School brings new things, such as the International Night Fashion Show and Cake Walk. To say that this even was "under billed" might be a huge over statement. The boy and I went, and the first clue was that the parking lot was packed.
The entire center of the school was ringed with tables themed to various countries, with crafts, and foods that were free, or a nominal fee to try.
I love school events. Wandering the halls, watching all the kids act crazy, or behave quite well. I love how they're all learning and growing, these boys that I've watched since they were 5 and 6.
And it's probably ego but it makes me feel good to do this simple stuff with him, just to watch his wonder and excitement. Above, he's making a paper flower for his little sister. The girl manning the station? No idea how to make them. Luckily, I was a girl scout and making paper flowers was a requirement :) .

While we wandered and tasted and made crafts, my mind went to a friend of mine who just died.


She was my friend while I was trying to get pregnant. She was my friend who was the self appointed expert on all things motherhood. A lot of things I find myself gravitating to as important, are things she used to say over and over. Her kids were her WORLD. SCHOOL IS THEIR JOB she would say. YOU HAVE TO BE INVOLVED IN EVERYTHING THEY DO, she would say. She helped me find the best pediatrician.

I didn't think she was a perfect mom, but I thought she was a good mom. As a friend, she was definitely someone whose opinion and values mattered to me. I listened to her, and believed in so much of what she said.

So there I was at international night, tasting chicken satay, and laughing as my son played the various instruments with his friends, blinking back my tears.

In the course of 12 years, 11 I have been gone from there, my friend drank herself to death. Her alcoholism existed even when I knew her, but I never perceived it. She was good at pretending she didn't have a problem - for a while.

I find it unthinkable, that someone whose world revolved around her kids, could change into someone whose world revolved around booze. But that's how powerful it is. She couldn't even stop for all the things she believed in, all the things she loved.

I know that the bubbly, bossy girl Michele and I were friends with hasn't existed in a long time. She changed as the demon took hold of her and turned her into someone else. So I guess I can't mourn the person I knew suddenly dying, as that person hasn't been around in years and years.

But I regret the loss to her children, of the woman I knew. Do they even remember her, and her passion for them? Do they know how they were EVERYTHING to her? The mom who did crafts and participated at school, vs. being a sick drunk prone to rage - do they remember? God I hope they do. I do.

I mourn the loss of hope, of future, for her. I regret the missed chances, the grandchildren, the firsts she won't get to see now. I mourn the girl who I knew, being lost in the bottom of a bottle.
This is how I will remember her. Round cheeked, smiling, and with bigger hair than was actually appropriate for the decade.  I saw another picture of her online, thin, bony, sharp featured. I don't know that girl.This is the girl I know.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

It's So Fluffy I Can't Stand It !

When we walked into the fair, it was one of the first things she spied, THE UNICORN FROM DESPICABLE ME. And there were minions. "It's a MINIONS PLACE " she declared. "Daddy," she announced,"Is going to win me that unicorn." And obviously, there was no way that it was NOT going to happen.

It was a trip to the fair (an annual event - so annual that today my timehop is that we went to the same fair LAST year) that was a little different all around this year. To start with when we pulled up, the girl began to squeal from the back seat "THIS PLACE ! WE CAME BACK TO THIS PLACE OH YAY!" and was so excited, she instantly knew what we were here today, even if she didn't know the word FAIR.

Another big change for us is that Miles is in the MIDDLE of potty training. In the middle in terms of, is not really potty trained but is working on it. But not enough for us to be comfortable in public in underpants, so we put him in a pull up. By nightfall we realized, we're being jerks about this and we are going to have to go to the next step as he was HATING the pull up.
He rode some different big boy rides this time with Louis, and while he had his moments of being the unruly kid he can be, his biggest frustration was the pullup. So we're going to figure out how to do this, knowing we're going to have accidents. Potty training with a kid you can't have conversations with is a challenge.
The food was just OK this year. Louis got a hotdog made of alligator, I guess that's exotic (ok really eating alligator down here really isn't exotic) but it was different. The food wasn't bad, it was just "eh".  My BBQ wasn't from the same big award winning BBQ trailer as last year and it showed. It wasn't bad, just kind of super average. I guess if you never had BBQ you'd think it was good maybe?
One of the biggest events at the fair, a milestone crossed, I don't have a picture of, and that was Charlie riding his FIRST big boy ride. Charlie isn't a HUGE fan of rides, and has been left out more than a bit the last couple of years. Too big for the baby rides (which he likes) and too immature for the big ones plus he doesn't like many of them - Charlie isn't a thrill seeker - it's been frustrating/sad as a parent seeing him standing at the side watching his siblings ride, even when it's a ride he won't like.

We took him on the boat which he liked, and that wasn't new. But what we did take him on that he went nuts and LOVED was the big Bavarian Curve thing. Blasting music, DJ barking nonsense, and riding around at breakneck speed - who knew that Charlie would put his arms in the air and yell WHEEEEEE as it went? Well he did. He LOVED IT. Noted, Charlie LOVES the thing.
We decided that next year we are going to a different fair, as this one while nice, is lacking in the crazy DEEP FRIED FOODS ON STICKS we love so much. I want to eat your crazy thing deep fried on a stick. BRING ME YOUR WEIRD FOODS, I will eat them on a stick with glee. It's more traditional and while nice, maybe good to rotate in every couple of years for variety, it's just not as wacky as we're looking for. Plus it lacks all the 4H competition stuff and we like that stuff.

It does have a nice animal interaction area. We were glad Miles enjoyed the goats, lately he has some animal fears, and he went right up to the goat and pet it - he seemed to like it a lot. However, the bunnies were RIGHT OUT as were the chickens. That's ok, the goat was a victory in that regard.
I have not gotten a candy apple in years, because I thought my teeth wouldn't like it - they aren't as good as they should be. But I've got two new crowns and decided to put them to the test. Oh man, it was as good as I remembered. Louis shared with me and he apparently had never had one or didn't remember the crunch cinnamon apple awesome of them. It was delicious.

So the fair had milestones, Miles just needs to wear underpants, and Charlie has ventured into big boy rides. And unicorns will be yours, if you tell the universe that Daddy is going to win one.

As we drifted off to sleep, she put the unicorn on the table beside her and said "I'm going to have magical dreams because the unicorn is next to me."

I bet she did.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Then I Got Older

I had my birthday a couple of days ago, and so now I'm 46. Being 46 feels sort of random. It's no a milestone age of any sort. There's 16 when you can drive, and 18 when you can vote, and 21 when you can drink. There's 30 when your life is over, and 40 when your life is even MORE over. After that is 41 when you realize your life is NOT over in fact life is pretty darn good. You're finally there, the age when people take you seriously and this adult business is finally ON.

46 though is sort of the NEUTRAL GOOD of aging. I don't feel old by any means. It's not youthening either, I don't feel like 46 is the new 26, as when I was 26 I had a rocking hairstyle modeled after one Linda Evangelista was wearing in the Freedom Video and well frankly, now my hair is clean on a good day and that's about it. I'm actually pretty ok with that.

So this is my take on being one year older.

I'm old enough to know what I need, even if I'm never sure what I want. I know that I have everything I need and that I'm lucky enough to have more than I would ever ask for. When asked what I want for my birthday I couldn't think of anything. It's not that I wouldn't like things, I like stuff as much as the next person. Stuff is good.

Maybe I've lost the ability to covet. Hannibal Lecter would be disappointed I know.

It's sort of comfortable being 46.

I would happily do another 46 I think. In fact I think I'll shoot for that.

But just to make sure you don't think I've gone into some zen "no gifts" zone, and to remind you that I haven't matured at all...I did get THIS.

I also got an amazing gift that is priceless, a book compiled by many of my friends which is a compilation of Juliaisms. You can see it here. It's amazing and beautiful, and I have to say, I'm always in awe of the little person that she is.

Now, time to start the next 46.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

This Is NOT OKAY

THIS should not be the same as THIS
No wonder I'm cold as hell !

Saturday, October 04, 2014

An Autism Conundrum - Or a Pesonal Kobayashi Maru

There are scenarios I face that are so Kobyashi Maru, I don't know how to choose what to do. I want to reprogram the computer and cheat. Kirk took the wiley but easy way out. He never did face the no win scenario because he didn't believe in it.

I don't get that luxury.

Such as right now. Here's a choice.

Miles is standing outside of our bedroom door where my husband is asleep. I want him to sleep. Good, solid sleep is something he doesn't get much as he has insomnia. I treasure him getting good rest. Miles is shouting the ABCs and clapping and stomping back in forth. Why is he doing this? What's the difference between a fish? It's the same answer.

Miles is going to wake him up.

So my option now is to tell Miles to stop, which will erupt in SCREAMING AND TANTRUMS OF BIBLICAL PROPORTION AND SET OFF HIS ENTIRE DAY. Or to let him continue. Which will cause my sleeping husband to wake up, tell him to stop, which will erupt in SCREAMING AND TANTRUMS OF BIBLICAL PROPORTION AND SET OFF HIS ENTIRE DAY

The question then is, is it possible for ME to ask him to stop without this happening?

The result thus far today has been - NO. It's on.Screaming, chinning, attacking Charlie, screaming some more. Shouting SHOW ME ONE (we don't know why he does this) and laying down and holding up his feet and shouting FEET FEET FEET at me. I confirm the feet, I show him ONE (one finger, no not that one) and send him to his room. I tried to get him to read a book, sit in the chair, hug me, anything but no. He won't be comforted.

It wouldn't have been any better, intergalactic war would've erupted if it had been his father who said to stop it.

Seriously, why can't I reprogram this computer?


Or could I at least opt in for a day when all he's doing is standing on TOP of the bed?

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Having Kids Killed Horror Movies For Me

I loved horror movies back in my youth. I saw them in 3D. I wasn't afraid of Freddie or Jason or Michael Myers. I was jaded, I was invincible and immortal. I was young.

My empathy levels increased when I became a mom, and I have to admit they've grown worse/better/stronger every year. I have trouble suspending my disbelief. It's not just a girl gutted and strung up in a tree, it's someones child. That is without fail the way my mind works now, every time.
"That's someones child."

I lost the ability to look at death as entertainment somewhere along the way, at least horror death. I can still weep over Steel Magnolias as I did with two friends last night. (Well two of use cried and the third wondered why). But Shelby wasn't gutted and draped over a carport. Her death was tragic but it wasn't horror.

I tried to start watching The Walking Dead recently, on my lunch hour. I should've known, in the first few minutes *SPOILERS STOP READING RIGHT NOW* when they shoot the little blonde zombie girl in the head, that this was NOT for me. Tears running down my face at lunch wasn't how I want to spend my lunch time.

I tried a few more episodes, urged on, "It gets better", "Don't worry you won't mind the zombies after a while" and various other things.

But I did mind them. I minded the really over the top gore, which was too graphic for my taste and didn't really speak to any one's great skill at special effects so I didn't see the point. HEY LOOK GUTS. YAY. Not really "lunch time" fare, however. Also, it made me sad. It made me nervous and not in an endorphin rush way. It made me feel unsafe. Conceptually, Walking Dead was proposing a world where being alive meant you now existed on a giant hunting ground called Earth - and you were the game.

After I got to the 4th episode, I found that I couldn't sleep that night. My tension was so bad, I couldn't relax. When I did nod off it was into the world of Atlanta over run by Walkers and no where was safe. My children weren't safe. Nothing was safe. I couldn't relax I couldn't sleep.

I know it's lame, I should know fantasy from reality but I don't know if I want to feel comfortable with that kind of fear and terror. Do I want to be ok with looking horror right in the face and not flinching? To be numb to it? Is it really ok to desensitize myself to that much violence and gore? I'm not sure. I just know it impacted me a lot. I love Tarantino - so what's the difference? I guess because I didn't get a 30 second close up of Marvin's brains all over the back seat. Maybe that's the difference.

My other thought is, and it's just a thought, but as they say in Game of Thrones "The Night Is Dark and Full of Terrors" is true. It's actually really true, in real life.

I don't need made up horror. If I want to dive into horror, I'll just watch the damn evening news.


Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Songs of Mommyhood

The day he was born, I went to McDonald's on my way to the hospital. No lie I did. So we started out his twelfth birthday at the McDonald's near us. We listened to opera and enjoyed their new ultra modern decor. It almost felt like we weren't eating at McDonald's at all.

Watching him while he ate, and listening to him prattle on endlessly about the video game he didn't know he was getting later in that day, it occurred to me that it's only been 12 years since I've changed who I was. Twelve years ago I was pretty deeply into the NOW WHAT stage of being a MOM.
Everything changes when you are a Mom. For instance, music.

There is so much now that is LOU music to me. For instance, while Scott Stapp may be one of Sarah and my favorite jokes of a human, he had this stupid song that was popular while I was pregnant and I would cry my eyes out every time it came on.
To this day I will sing my lungs out when that song comes on. JUDGE ME I DON'T CARE.
Also this one.
Because I was pregnant when this was huge too. And I was marking time every day - worried that it wouldn't work out, as they'd said they didn't think we could have children. (Joke's on THEM eh?).

Then there are songs that are more about him than me, such as this one that he would sway and sing all the time when he was one and two. We actually bought him the CD he loved it so much. Now of course he thinks we're crazy when we tell him this.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

On Daddy's Day Off

Daddy went to watch football and not worry about diapers or potty training or dinner, or the bills, or the pool, or what needs fixed, or cleaned, or laundry. He went to drink beer and cheer on the Colts (GO COLTS) and relax.
So, we went on a picnic.
We went to the Environmental and Heritage Center in the woods down the road to eat our lunch and take a short walk. A very short walk.
It was an adventure though, through the woods and we saw lots of beautiful things.
The walk did us all good, fresh air and a cool breeze is never a bad thing and I think it was just nice not to be cooped up in the house.
We're calling this NATURES TOILET. Or Lou is.
The Heritage is a green facility and they have a lovely water reclamation site that they've cleverly disguised as landscaping.
We wandered along the waterway and enjoyed the peaceful sounds of rushing water and the wind through the trees. Why did we ever stay home on these days? We should always come out.
The best part of our part is when Julia farted. Have I mentioned that she thinks you aren't supposed to fart in your pants and cries hysterically whenever it happens? That makes us laugh and then she cries more. We're mean.
But it IS funny.