Monday, June 27, 2011

Manic Monday

Last Monday was one of those Mondays that just make you want to crawl back in bed and sleep it off. It was ridiculous how many things went crazy on me.

Monday morning, Travis had to go to work early (as he often does in the summer to beat the heat). So, he left early and I took the girls to school (usually his job).

Our house is on the market, so I was rushing around trying to pick everything up and make sure it was presentable in case someone wanted to look. Catherine was in the girls' bathroom "helping" me clean up. I handed her a toothbrush as asked her to put it away (in hopes of keeping her busy). She looked at me, grinned, threw it in the toilet and flushed. Luckily I have been blessed with cat-like reflexes managed to grab it out of the potty before it went down and clogged the toilet. Best part of it all: MY KIDS NEVER FLUSH! And...that morning proved no different.

Finally, we got out of the door at 7:50 (about 30 minutes after we typically should leave). I dropped the girls off, got on the bypass and ding! ding! ding! Gas light came on. So, I got off the bypass and filled up with gas. Now, I was really late.

As I was speeding driving with the pace of traffic, I realized I left my laptop and bag at home. I was one exit from the office. Sooooo....I turned around, drove back home and grabbed my laptop. On my way BACK to work, I opened my Dr. Pepper (which yes...I stopped for because I NEEDED IT!) and it spewed all over me. At this point, I couldn't help but laugh.

The day just kept going about like that. I lost my car keys in Gap Kids at lunch. Drama at work. I slammed my finger in the washing machine (don't ask). Catherine threw a washcloth into the potty. The girls fought over everything...even who's hair was longer!?

Wowza! What a day it was. I was never so glad to crawl into my bed.

But, today, I am sitting on the beach, reading, playing and soaking up this wonderful life. So...I guess between the two Monday's, it's a wash! :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Just a Reminder...

We are at the beach...soaking up the sun and loving the vacation life together. Last week, I read the article below again. (I have posted this previously...and probably will again.)

I am often guilty of running from one thing to another and not spending time living the moments with the girls. I vow to get better at that.


Anna Quindlen, Newsweek Columnist and Author

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who,miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once poured over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations -- what they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all.

Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.

When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet,and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the, "Remember-When- Mom-Did Hall of Fame." The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine , not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I replied,"What did you get wrong?". (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night.

I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Father's Day Funny

Travis always mentions things here and there that he would like to have. I just store them in the memory bank until a holiday comes. He has mentioned several times that he wants a corn feeder to put on his lease for hunting.

The girls and I were talking about what to get him for Father's Day. I listed off a couple of things (among them was the corn feeder) and let them choose. The vote was unanimous. Travis needed a "corn teether" (per Hannah).

One day at lunch, I went to Academy to get his gift. After wandering around the hunting section for hours about ten minutes, I found what I was looking for. Of course, it was about 3 feet over my head and no one was around to help me get it down. I tracked two guys down who worked there. One guy was about 6+ ft tall. The other guy was about 5- ft tall. I asked if one of them could help me and the shorter guy was more than happy to oblige.

I showed him what I wanted and he climbed a ladder to get it down. Now, not only was this guy short, he was petite. The box was one of those awkward square boxes that even people with monkey arms can't get their arms into the right position to carry it and it weighed a ton. So, he struggled (at the top of a ladder!) for a bit and finally got it down and onto a cart for me.

(The whole time he was on the ladder, I was analyzing his weight and wondering if he fell would I be able to catch him or just break his fall.)

Now, I had the corn "teether" and just needed to get a couple of bags of corn to go with it. (Please keep in mind I was on lunch from the hunting section...pushing a huge corn feeder around the store. Awkward.) I found some 50lb bags of corn and loaded them into the cart as a guy stood watching me because my giant cart was in his way. (Southern gentleman. I think not.)

Finally, I got what I needed and got out of the store. It was SO hot outside, as I walked to my car, I was sweating and wondering how in the WORLD I was going to hoist this massive thing into my car. I parked my cart right against my car and threw the bags of corn in. Then, I climbed into the back to fold the seats down. I figured I could pull the feeder into the car from where I was. So, I just grabbed a handle and yanked it into the car.

At this point, I was a hot mess. But, the car was loaded. Whew! As I was getting out of my car, my feet got hung on some lawn chairs and I lost my balance. I fell out of the back of the Acadia and landed booty first on the asphalt with my feet straight up in the air. My word! I was embarrassed (and it kind of hurt), but I jumped up in hopes that no one saw me.

WRONG! A man happened to be waiting for my spot and witnessed the whole thing. Unfortunately for me, he WAS a Southern gentleman and jumped out of his truck to make sure I was OK. In all my embarrassment, all I could muster was a "I'm fine. Thanks." I grabbed my purse, jumped in my car and drove off. (He moved the cart for me since I was obviously in too much of a hurry too banged up to do so.)

So, if you run across a You Tube video of a girl on the surveillance camera falling out of the back of her car, you now know the story. On the bright side, this could be my way of getting on Tosh.0 for a web redemption. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up

We had a great weekend this weekend. Pretty low key, but tons of outside fun!

Friday night, "Aunt" Tara decided she was brave enough to keep Emma, Hannah, Claire and Owen. So, she picked the kids up from our house and took them to dinner at La Huerta. They ate yummy Mexican food and shared some virgin strawberry daiquiris. Afterwards, they went to Tara and Drew's for a sleepover. My girls absolutely love Tara's style, so I am sure they were over the moon when Tara let them raid her closet and have a fashion show! They also baked a cake, watched Tangled and finally fell asleep. Thanks, Tara, for keeping them. They had SO much fun!

While the big girls were off having fun with Tara, Rachel, Shane, Bree, Travis, Catherine and I all went to eat at Joe's. Rachel and I were reminiscing about how hectic we thought life was with one kid. If we could go back and laugh at ourselves from then, we would. (Not bashing anyone with one kid...every season in life has it's challenges.)

Saturday morning, Travis, Catherine and I got up and headed to breakfast at Susan's. It is the best breakfast spot in NWA. Then, we ran down to the Fayetteville Farmer's Market and picked up my new bench for the kitchen from RiffRaff.

Side note: The kitchen is coming along and I will post before and after pics once it's done. I expect it to be done by mid-July!

After Tara brought the girls home, we played outside, napped, worked on some projects around the house and just enjoyed a lazy Saturday (complete with a two hour nap for this Mommy!).

Saturday night, we went to the Brown's for a cookout. Shane grilled up some yummy chicken for sandwiches, while the other men stood around watching him slave away. The kids got ice cream from the ice cream truck. We all hung out on the patio and ended the night with the Brown girls putting on a dance show for everyone. It was such a fun night.

Sunday, we got up, went to church and to lunch for Travis's favorite, BBQ. Beyond that, we spent the day getting ready for the week and most of all getting ready for our vacation next week! Woooohooo! Here is the only pic I snapped with my phone of T and the girls on Father's day. (Catherine was trying to run away...but such is life with her right now!)

If you missed my post all about Travis, you can see it here.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, June 17, 2011

He does exist...

You may have noticed Travis doesn't make many appearances on the blog very often. He's not a fan of pictures (but I take them anyway) and he kind of thinks its weird that people want to read about our "normal, boring" life.

But, in honor of Father's Day approaching, I thought it would be good to share some lots of the pictures from the past that he is in (and I probably didn't post on the blog).

Three things I noticed as I went through these pics: 1 - Travis is without a shirt A LOT! 2 - He wears the same clothes over and over 3 - All these girls are making him lose his hair!

And here is my favorite picture EVER!

Travis, you are such a good Daddy. The girls love you more than words! I love you very much. Watching you with our girls makes me love you even more. We are lucky to have you!