How to Survive Rogue One

My family and I did something a few days ago that we rarely do… we went to the movies! Usually my hubs and I wait until movies are available from the comfort of our own home and have the “lazy man’s movie night”. But we went all out for Rogue One. Given it’s been a bit since we’ve ventured out together like this, I forgot about a few nuances about the movie theater experience. In the event you are weighing the pros and cons of going to see a movie, I’d like to share with you what those nuances are.

  1. Cost – if you’re not in the top 1% of the top 1% of earners in the country, you may want to pawn that vase you had appraised on Antiques Roadshow before you purchase those tickets. And don’t get me started on the food. $4.99 USD for a SMALL BOTTLE OF WATER?????? I can get 32 bottles at Costco for that price! Just keep whispering, “It’s for the babies… it’s for the babies… it’s for the babies.” And hand over that $100 bill. To be fair, in exchange you’ll get a kid’s sized Icee, a small popcorn, and a box of Snowcaps. Did you get nachos? Want extra cheese? Well, that’ll be a kidney. Napkins? Those are free. You’re welcome.
  2. Time Management – Lines are inevitable even if you get your tickets online. Lines, lines everywhere. So be sure to plan for it. Concession lines to order your food and drinks, lines to get your food once you order it, lines to show the 13 year old your tickets, lines to use the bathroom. Lines again so that your 5 year old can use the bathroom for the 6th time in an hour. In my mind I’m famous and, as such, should not be subjected to lines.
  3. People – Ugh. I forget how much I hate being around people until I go to the movies. Remember that movie Crash? The one where Reese Witherspoon’s first husband played a cop? When I saw that movie so many years ago, something happened that caused me to forever lose faith in the classiness of the human race. A woman sat down rightbesideme (yes, that spacing is on purpose because that’s how I felt) in a not-so-crowded theater, reached into her oversized handbag, and pulled out of that Mary Poppins purse a paper bag from Churches Chicken. While the movie was just beginning (the actual movie, not the credits) she tore the bag down the side and rolled it down so that she could gain better access to her chicken wings. Then she- I moved. I have no idea what she did after that. In my mind she made love to those chicken wings without shame, no matter who was watching, and I wasn’t going to be a part of that. But, yeah, I hate being around groups of people. They’re stupid.
  4. My kids – I adore my kids. Seriously. I am in love with them. But I can’t handle going to the movies with them very often. When we order movies at home, they have full access to more than one bathroom. They can move around, they can talk, they can sit on their heads, they can cry because their socks feel funny. None of it matters because I didn’t spend $100 to watch it. I maybe spent $6 if I was feeling frisky and didn’t go with a free option. Today Roman spilled his popcorn, went to the bathroom 4 times, got his foot caught underneath himself and started bawling, sat in my lap, sat in my hubs’ lap, sat in his chair, sat in my lap, back to my husband, then back to me. He wanted my pizza, nope that’s gross, then drank an entire Icee. That’s right. He had to pee 4 times BEFORE he finished the Icee. Then there’s my 8-year-old baby girl. Bella is usually pretty good at the moves. Today, though, she wanted to know who everyone was in the movie, why they did what they did, point out how funny the robot was, impersonate the robot, crunch her chips, smack her chips, argue with me out loud when I told her quietly to stop smacking, and sit with her legs in what I can only describe as an open frog position.

Overall, even with the frustrations, we had a great time. Rogue One is a very entertaining, action-packed movie that the kids and the hubs loved. I love that a strong female character kicked ass. Bam, boys! It moves quickly and stands alone so you don’t have to be familiar with the whole franchise to get the story. So if you can get passed all the crazy out there and afford to sell your first born to whatever theater you prefer to visit, I highly recommend seeing Rogue One.

Maybe I’m impatient and frugal but it’s ok. At least I’m pretty. How do you prefer to watch movies?

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How to Not Raise a Serial Killer

Family is a strange construct.

My beautifully crazy little family
             My beautifully crazy little family
As parents we have children, cross our fingers, do our best, and hope our kids don’t turn out to be serial killers. As spouses we hope we’ve chosen well and have a partner who will love and cherish us the way we love and cherish them (unless we’re being adulterous assholes. Then we aren’t a good example). And when all the finger crossing and hope and prayers don’t work the way we envisioned? What do we do when we’ve raised the crazy one in the family? How do we ensure we DON’T?

If we are married, we hope that our spouses know and feel the love we have for them when they aren’t snoring. I hope that my husband knows that he is my foundation. He is everything that I’m not and more. If he doesn’t know that, then I’ve failed him. (And I don’t fail, so…)

If we are parents we hope our kiddies know how much they are loved. If we are parents with more than one child or if we have siblings we hope that they won’t follow the Cain and Able path. In this example, the Kardashians are a better model of sibling love and bonding. How sad is that. That the Kardashians are better models of love than that of a story in the Bible… Anyway, it’s all kind of a crapshoot.

You’re totally, vulnerably dependent on the good conscious of someone else when you have family. That’s the comfort and pain of it all. Family is supposed to be the one safe place to fall, regardless of your role. I can pour myself into my kids. I can raise them both exactly the same. One may figure life out and one may not. It’s all in the way they PERCEIVE their upbringing. When that perception is different than reality, well let’s just say that crazy will swoop right in and wreak havoc all over that family of yours. And if you’re not the crazy one in the family, well, let’s just say that ignorance is bliss. Cuz it sucks being the sane one (ok, fine… the MORE sane one).

Every family has crazy. It’s just a fact. Pretty sure scientists have proven it. If you don’t think that’s true that every family has its fair share of cray, look in the mirror. It’s you. You’re the crazy one. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Crazy can be fun. I know I’m crazy. I own it. I’m spontaneous, inconsistent, impulsive, creative, and unfiltered. You never know what will happen when I open my mouth.

But crazy can also be VERY fuq’d up. I’m not fuq’d up crazy (I hope). I’m not mean or spiteful. I’m not going to hurt others to get back at someone. Hell, I have no desire to get back at anyone I feel wronged by. I’d rather just move on. Spiteful, mean, vindictive crazy is what you DON’T want in your family. It’s divisive and dramatic. It’s painful.

When I think of the future of my family, I envision big parties and holidays with love and happiness and fun. I envision my kids smiling and laughing and hanging out with each other even when they don’t HAVE to. I look forward to hearing the stories of things they did together when they were teenagers that, when they’re 25 and 28, it’s ok to tell me because the statute of limitations has expired. I hope I teach them to be friends above all else.

Aren't they cute!?
                           Aren’t they cute!?
In my experience, the actions that will get you the crazy designation quicker than most are those that could be described as mean. Not “oh I hurt your feelings on accident” but “I hate you and I want you to know how much I hate you so I’m going to make you feel it.”  In general, I don’t understand why people have to be mean and hateful, especially to family.  We all have our moments of insanity, maybe even instances we’ve been mean on accident. PMS, stress, ‘roid rage, sleeplessness… all of it can contribute. And that’s excusable for the most part. But most people don’t have PMS for 30 years. Not even men… LOL, ok, slight tangent alert: I couldn’t even type that with a straight face. Men TOTALLY have PMS for 30 years. How old is he? Just turned 30 today? Then, yes, he’s had PMS for 30 years. It’s ok. Y’all know I’m right.

So what can we do to make sure our kids love and respect each other? What can we do to make sure our kids know that we as their parents truly want what’s best for them?

To keep our kids from adopting the cray-cray lifestyle, perhaps we should find the answer to the question, ‘why are some people able to let go of the mistakes of their past and the good-faith mistakes of their parents while others aren’t’.

As a parent, my main job is to raise my babies to be functioning, contributing members of society. That means it’s my job to love them, educate them, correct them, keep them safe, their home life stable, and give them the emotional support necessary to convey a feeling of safety and stability. Along the way I will fail. I’m sure I already have. I may not even realize it. But I can assure you that kids remember. Like little baby elephants, they remember.

Maybe at some point a circumstance will present itself that I won’t know how to navigate. Maybe I’ll think I’m doing what’s best but I’m not. (Hard to imagine, I know. I mean, this is all purely hypothetical since I don’t make mistakes so just hang with me for a moment.) Maybe at some point my kids will start to doubt the love or safety or stability of their home environment. (Cuz, let’s face it, Lola can be a little off-kilter sometimes. She makes me feel unsafe with her stare and I’m pretty sure she’s judgy.) 

God willing, if that happens, I can recognize the struggle and help them through it. You know, like Blac Chyna did for Rob. That fits, right? (That’s what he said.)

I also know that my kids will make mistakes. It’s part of growing up. They’ll make bad decisions. They’ll choose partners that may not be right for them. They’ll have friends that may try to influence them in the wrong direction. That’s part of growing up. Mistakes are just that (or so I’ve been told). You learn and redirect. As a parent, it’s my job to teach them how to redirect and move forward. I would hate to still be ashamed and holding on to mistakes I made at 16. Self-forgiveness. I think that’s key. (For example, I’ve already forgiven myself for the chocolate croissant I just inhaled. You’re welcome, self. You’re welcome.)

Here is my hope in the face of uncertainty: I hope my actions unify, not divide my family. I hope I exhibit behavior that makes my kids feel safe and my husband feel loved and respected. I hope my kids see me respecting their father even when life isn’t going the way we planned. And I hope that my kids learn above all else that they are responsible for their own happiness in life. Like the Atlanta Falcons do sometimes, when 300 lb. life comes charging, I hope we Rise Up.

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The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Marriage

beach pic

Isn’t it wonderful to start the day with a warm, relaxing bath? The calmness, the quiet… the realization as I reach for the soap that I left it in the separate standup shower… I wonder if anyone would notice if I use the random bottle of conditioner from five years ago as soap…

Anyway, back to why we’re here:

I’m convinced that this summer my husband and I discovered the #1, hands-down BEST thing you can do for your marriage. And it only took us five and a half years. {To be so book smart (or, in my case, pop culture trivia smart) sometimes we’re a little socially slow.}

In the past, we thought we were nurturing our relationship as long as we spent a night or two away. Away as in 20 miles away. We would go “away” maybe twice a year if we were lucky.

Get to the destination around 4 or 5 o’clock, have a nice dinner, go back to our expensive hotel, and wake up the next morning with the TV still on, realizing we fell asleep while trying to catch up on a little Grim. Then we’d laugh about how lame we are that we fell asleep before 9 pm, pack up our- wait, no need to pack what we didn’t unpack, get in the car and go home, maybe picking up breakfast on our way.

That was the extent of our “us” time.

Then it all changed… This year my husband had a conference to go to. He could choose between Sandestin, FL or San Diego (which, apparently, does NOT mean “a whale’s vagina”). He got an idea… he said, “Let’s see if someone can keep the kids and take the trip together!” {which means Florida because he doesn’t like to fly} I said “OK!” Then I said, “I can’t leave the kids for FIVE DAYS!” Then I said, “But I would love to drink at the beach all day without having to hose sand out of Roman’s butt crack or worry about Bella flinging sand in a stranger’s eyes as she Baywatch runs through everyone’s towels with no concern about anyone else around.” Then I cried a little. Then I picked them up from day care and quickly packed my bag. A month in advance.

The anticipation of the trip gave me as a mom hope and excitement. I had more patience. My perspective changed. Work was manageable, home was manageable. I had something to look forward to.

E leaving for beach

Normally, I’d dread spending 6 hours in a car. This trip was FUN! We stopped when we wanted to, where we wanted to. We had no one to worry about but ourselves. We sang at the top of our lungs. Needless to say, we’re super cool.

first beach view

Once there, we enjoyed EACH OTHER. Even the room smelling like shat didn’t keep us down! For reals, it smelled like someone took an actual shat in our room. We could have gone back to the lobby and asked for another room. But we were tired and just wanted to get dinner. Instead, we decided to open the drapes in the master bedroom to get some light and air in. That’s when we realized that being on the second floor means you’re eye-level with pool goers. Normally, I would have marched myself to the lobby and DEMANDED that if there were another room available maybe we might like to perhaps switch. Instead, we laughed about it and left to get dinner. When we came back 3 hours and several drinks later, we didn’t even notice the smell!

We were able to relax and have fun and DO NOTHING. We remembered that we actually like each other. It wasn’t life on autopilot simply going through the motions to get through the day and get the kids to bed so we could go to sleep. We laughed mockingly at other parents who had to drag their entire houses to the beach while we clinked our Yeti cups together and chugged our alcohol.

e and r beach pic

My husband and I spent just enough time away that we reconnected and at the end, we were ready to get back to our babies. And we came away with memories and inside jokes and experiences that we have together. And if you’re ever in Sandestin, go to Marlin’s and ask for Pitman. He’s an amazing photographer and an avid Dixie Chicks fan.

rick and e at dinner

 

 

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Zero Effs Mom

The Revolution is well underway, people. It’s no longer a grassroots movement. Bully moms everywhere are feeling the heat as the Zero-Effs moms climb out from under the rocks of humiliation dropped on them over the years for not living up to the pretentious expectations of “society” and band together in a perfectly imperfect sisterhood of normalcy.

Even Hollywood is glamorizing us with movies like “Bad Moms” and fulfilling my dream of being played by Mila Kunis in a movie about my life. The Zero Effs mom is becoming a modern day folk hero, the Robin Hood of our time, stealing pride back from arrogant biatches and returning self-esteem to those just trying to do their best.

But as it becomes more mainstream to fight the oppressive parental expectations we’ll never live up to, I beg you – don’t celebrate me because my bag of effs is empty. I’m not this way to be cool or trendy. I doubt any of us are. It comes from pain. It comes from embarrassment. It comes from humiliation. And from that pain, embarrassment, and humiliation we realize that we are still standing. We realize that we don’t have the luxury of giving up. We have life to live and a family to raise. We have things to do. How we do those things is none of your effing business. So get out of my way or get run over.

I started life with a bag overflowing of effs. I handed them out like candy. I was the Opera of effs. “YOU get an eff! And YOU get an eff! And YOU, take four!” I gave 1/4th of them to the mean girls in middle school, trying to be cool. I gave ½ of them to my first husband. Which leaves me with 1/4th of the effs God gave me. Those are very precious, limited edition effs reserved for my family. I got none to waste.

Honestly, it’s not just the way I interact with other parents. It’s the way I live. And it’s liberating. Do what you do and let me do what I do. Celebrate the non-judgment. If you want to hand-make all of your baby food, refuse to allow anyone to drive your child without a car seat installed by a fireman, or only allow your child to play with hypoallergenic designer puppies, that’s your prerogative. I won’t judge you for it. But don’t judge me for wanting my kids to go on road trips with friends, experience a Twinkie, and know the feeling of rescuing a dog from the pound.

If I hear judgment of me or anyone else, I will not only call it out, I will ensure the biatch receives the verbal assault I didn’t have in my arsenal as an 8th grader with the self-esteem I didn’t have in my first marriage. Not to be mean. That’s not my intent. It’s to tell the bullies of the world to move on. Go somewhere else. Like Hell.

The Zero Effs moms aren’t perfect. And we know you aren’t either. And your neighbor isn’t either. And the PTO president isn’t either. The kicker: your babies don’t want or need perfection. They need and want you. So know you’re good enough, stock your arsenal with some self-esteem, and tell Tiphi to shut the eff up.

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Lies from the Internet

Lies the Internet Tells Us:

  1. Your made-from-scratch version of that Pinterest find will be beautiful and delicious.   Every. Single.  Time.
  2. I can order clothes from Asian discount websites and look super sexy cool for less than $20! As long as my waist is smaller than an average person’s arm.  Which is normal, right?
  3. Working out at home is easy. And your dog won’t hump you while you do crunches.  #noexcuses
  4. Cleaning the house is a breeze with the Pinterest Squeaky-Clean-House Checklist. And it’s totally worth spending 5 hours on with 2 dogs and 2 kids.
  5. This homemade face mask will eliminate any need for Botox! And it totally won’t make you break out.
  6. I can make a fortune as a stay-at-home mom with just my laptop!
  7. Yes, I CAN make that Minecraft cake.
  8. If I need $$$ I can just create a page to fund me.
  9. Ombre gray hair looks great on everyone. Especially 14-year-olds.
  10. A parenting manual exists. Actually, there are many.  How many?  Count the number of parents on Facebook.
  11. Kendra Wilkinson is still relevant. Kendra Wilkinson was ever relevant.
  12. Not airing the Miss Universe pageant would be a gross injustice. We would never get the eternal wisdom of the constants bestowed upon us in broken English that no one can understand.  Because translators are for wussies.
  13. Caitlyn Jenner went off-roading in heels and a dress. What?  You don’t?
  14. Chris Martin and Jennifer Lawrence are a couple we should care about.
  15. The death of a drunk guy who shot an M-80 off his head is tragic. Not at all the universe’s way of weeding out the “less-fit-for-survival”.
  16. We can fix our relationship with Facebook! Hold on, let me search for that article that my bestie (you know, the one I met on that cruise 11 years ago and haven’t seen since) posted to her cousin’s wife’s wall…
  17. Quinoa is delicious. So is kale.

 

Thanks for never letting me down, Internet.  You’re the BEST.

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No Men on Pinterest

Men shouldn’t be allowed to access Pinterest.  Only heartache, broken dreams, and acknowledgement of the harsh reality of life can come of it.

Let me explain:

Last year, as my son’s third birthday approached, my husband showed me a picture he found on Pinterest and emphatically declared, “THIS SHALL BE MY SON’S CAKE ON THE DAY OF CELEBRATION FOR HIS BIRTH!”  Ok, so maybe not quite that ‘shoutty’ but you get the idea.

This was the picture:

pinterest.com
pinterest.com
As you can imagine, my husband’s motto is “Go big or don’t throw a party.”

Can’t say I disagree.  But up and to this point the process for ensuring that there is a cake for either of my children’s birthday parties involved showing them the options online {publix.com} then ordering said cake and picking it up.  The hardest part was making sure I didn’t drop it on the way to the party.

For Bella’s 5th birthday she threw me a curve ball by asking for a cheerleading cake.  Apparently, Publix (our supermarket of choice for cakes) doesn’t make a cheerleading cake.  Their solution (after explaining my dilemma to the very nice lady at the bakery) was a pink and purple cake and I went to Michael’s and bought stuff to make little toppers with cheerleaders on them.  That’s when I realized I kind of wish I was able to make cakes so my kids could have what they want.

But that’s where it ended.  An internal, only-to-myself wish that I had no intention of seeing through.

Then, in an instant, my hubs changed the game.

Publix didn’t have this super hero cake as an option on their website {because most 3-year-old birthday parties don’t require a super hero themed wedding cake, I would imagine}.

To have a bakery make this cake would have easily been $200, if not more.  I refused to pay that much for something that would eventually be poo’d out by 20 three-year-olds and maybe a parent or two.

So, I did what any self-respecting stubborn perfectionist would do.  I set out to make it myself.  How hard could it be?!  I used to LOVE to bake.  Before I had kids.  That means I hadn’t baked ANYTHING for 6 years.  SIX.  YEARS.

I figured a practice run would be best.  Ever see those “Pinterest fail” websites?  You know the one with the lamb?  This was worse.  I looked for a pic just to drive the idea home but apparently I was so mortified by it that I deleted any evidence.

One thing I know about myself is that I am a HUGE procrastinator.  I have been all of my life.  So I tend to do my best work under extreme pressure.  In college I once wrote a 10 page paper in Italian on an Italian movie the night before my 8 am class.  I got an A.  So, I’m pretty much an expert in waiting til the last minute then busting out a miracle.

But this was a little different.  If I failed, I would let my hubs down, my baby down, and other people not obligated by marriage or blood to love me for better or worse would know I failed.

As such, I decided in my brain that if I didn’t have a viable cake option {i.e. my best efforts failed miserably} by the morning of the party I would be at the 24-hour Kroger picking up the best option possible for my baby.  You know, like normal people do.

I was up all night.  I think I made it to bed at 3 am.  But it was ALL worth it.  Because my little man got this:

finished super hero cake

And Roman loved it, too.

It wasn’t perfect but both my guy who requested the cake and my three-year-old were ecstatic.  #winning

What I didn’t realize going into this was that I was setting a precedent.  Once I made a cool cake for my son, I had to reciprocate for my daughter 8 months later.

I expected her to want a cheerleading cake, or a Frozen cake, or something glittery and pink.  Nope.  My sweet Bella, who doesn’t play any musical instrument, wanted a piano cake.  A piano cake.  A cake made to look like a piano.  Seriously, what?

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s back to Pinterest I go…

She picked out this one:

pinterest.com
pinterest.com
She got this one:

finished piano cake

Again, not perfect but the gist was there.

And she loved it.  Both times I said I was done.  No more.  It’s too stressful, what if I mess up, what if I let everyone down.  SHUT UP, FEAR!

But here’s what I learned:

My kids love that EYE am making their cakes.  They have input.  They get exactly what they want.  It’s collaborative and they have a hand in it.

They see the creative process and hard work that goes into something that is usually taken for granted.  You go to the store and pick up a cake.  You don’t see the blood, sweat, and tears that can be shed in the process.  My kids see the effort, even if they don’t fully appreciate it right now.

There is such a sense of pride when other adults ask me where I bought the cakes and I can say that I made them myself.

I’ve always loved baking, even during the Great Baking Hiatus of 2008-2013.  And since I can remember I’ve lived for creating.

{The “creating” part, until this cake thing came along, was usually reserved for creating new voices for the pretend conversations our animals have or imaginary characters I make up when I’m telling my babies a bedtime story about Prin the Princess who goes on a magical adventure with her troll friend CeeCee to defeat the evil Duke.} 

I’m getting better at this cake making thing.  I actually like it {dare I say, love it?}.

This year I talked my Roman into cupcakes thinking it would be quicker and easier.  Nope.  Again, up most of the night.  This is what he got:

finished super hero cupcakes

Another hit.  This time, I’m actually PROUD of how it turned out.

By the way, this really isn’t that hard.  Cake mix from a box, buttercream icing, boxed fondant, tracing of templates, and voila.  The hardest part is making these creations with a kid hanging off your leg, getting interrupted ten times, and trying to figure out how to do something you’ve never done before.  Each time it gets easier.

I think you should try it.  You may just find a new hobby!

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Roman Is 4

Roman then and now

Ugh.  It happened.  My precious, 9 pound, unifying gift from God has become a little boy.  A full-speed-ahead locomotive that plows into life no matter what is coming at him.

When I found out I was going to have another baby almost five years ago I was a little unsure of it all.  I wasn’t married.  I had been dating the hot guy in scrubs from Starbucks for several months at that point.  A rekindled romance from a year prior.

After my first marriage I was in no hurry.  Actually, I was fine to never marry again.  What’s the point… they all end badly anyway.

{I was so optimistic in my early years.}

I had a happy, healthy two-year-old and thought my life was full and complete.  It was her and me.  What else did I need?

{Don’t answer that… we’re about to find out.}

God knew.  He had great plans for this big little baby.

I began to see that not all guys leave.  Some actually stay.  Even when they discover your flaws.  And some guys will even happily raise babies they didn’t biologically help create.  This rare species of man is AMAZING.  I have one.  His name is Rick.  And he’s really cute.

Before he was even born, I saw Roman bringing Bella, the hubs, and me closer every day.  We had good days and bad while trying to come together as a family but we were, indeed, a family.

For the first 2 years of her little life, my daughter didn’t have anyone to call dad.  She didn’t have anyone to come to Daddy-Daughter day at daycare or take her on a daddy-daughter date.  When it was time for parents to come to the school for a show or a special day, it was just me.

The first time she called my hubs “Daddy” she wouldn’t stop.  She would come up with reasons to say his name so she could say “Daddy” and have someone respond.  I had no idea she needed it THAT badly.

I gained an extra 200 pounds on March 5th, 2011 when I married who turned out to be the love of my life.

Then, on June 20th we welcomed Roman into the world.

He emerged the size of a linebacker.  He was 2 weeks early and weighed 9 pounds.  I kind of expected him to stand up, throw me a peace sign, and say, “Hey Moms, I’m gonna go hang with tha guys for the night.  Be back later.  Hey, thanks for that birth thing you just did.”

{My doctor still apologizes for not giving me a C-section…}

He could hold his head up, he loved to snuggle, and (I would find out that first night) hated to sleep.  I was IN LOVE!

I look at him now and still see my little man-baby.

As soon as I saw him for the first time I instantly couldn’t remember the world without him.  We were OFFICIALLY a family of four.  Bella now had a little brother to go with her new dad.  I had a son who would forever connect me to my new husband.  She and I had family I didn’t realize we needed.  All thanks to:

scuba roman

Roman.

A strong name for a strong little man.  It fits him perfectly.

He is strong-willed and impulsive and he loves chocolate almond milk.  He is sensitive and loving and he loves his basketball shoes.  He wants to be Batman, Superman, Captain America, and Spiderman depending on the day you ask him.  But he ALWAYS wants to be Slash.

He is rough and physical and loves all things sports or Guns N Roses.

He has the most AMAZING blue eyes that melt my heart every time I see them.  His kisses taste like sugar and his hair is so soft and blonde.  When he wraps his little arms around my neck and whispers, “I love you, Mommy” he could ask me for a dinosaur and I would get one for him.

The thought of one day having to relinquish my place in his life to someone else BREAKS ME!!!!!!!!!!!  But, I also don’t want to create a “Norman Bates” so I’m working on that.

Every time I look at my widdle bubby I see all the life lessons he has taught me in his short little 4 years.

Life is unexpected.

Sometimes doing things the “right” way leaves you broken and hurt.  Conversely, sometimes doing things the “wrong” way gets you exactly what you need.

Never, ever judge a pregnant woman who is not wearing a wedding ring.  She may be loved more than the one who has a huge rock on her hand.

We don’t know what we need.  But God does.

My heart will forever belong to a tiny little man who likes to run around in his batman underwear.

Mommy loves you, Roman.  Thank you for my family.

Rick Roman and Bella

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What It’s Like to Be a Parent

Superman

In honor of the upcoming Mother’s Day I thought I’d take this opportunity to share what motherhood has been like for me.  My children have taught me more than I ever thought possible.  And the parenting lessons I’ve learned would be wasted if I kept them all to myself.  So, to honor the lessons taught to me by my little oompa loompas, I present to you…

What it’s like to be a parent:

Bedtime can be a struggle.  Even the kids that start off as great sleepers can become quite the little boogers once they decide they have better things to do than waste time sleeping.  Roman is that child for me.  Thus, parenthood is a constant state of exhaustion. 

Roman: Mom!  Mommy!  Mom!  Mommy, I love you!  Mom, I love you more than my motorcycle!  Mommy.  Are you up here?  Can you hear me, mom?  Do you love me more than my motorcycle???
Me: Yes, Roman.  Go to sleep.
Roman: No you don’t.

Roman: Mom! Is Chinese Spanish?
Me: No.
Roman: Then what is it?
Me: Chinese.
Roman: Oh. Do they make fire?
Me: Go to sleep, Roman.
Roman: Why?

Roman: Mommy!
Me: Go to sleep, Roman.
Roman: Can I tell you a secret?
Me: What is it, Roman?
Roman: Once upon a time there where three little bears. Do you like that story, Mom?
Me: Go to sleep, Roman.
Roman: I’m so scared.
Me: There’s nothing to be scared of, Roman.
Roman: Yes, there is.  Are you upstairs?

Kids are constantly trying to figure things out.  And mine are usually trying to figure out how to get me to understand how hard they have it so they can get out of doing anything that involves manual labor (a.k.a. picking up after themselves). Thus, parenthood is a constant state of frustration. 

Bella: Mom, I have more responsibilities than you.
Me: Oh yeah? How’s that?
Bella: I have to stay clean, I have to check on Lola every morning, I have to check on Roman every night… Actually, I don’t do that. Mom, did you know unicorns were around in the 80s?

Me: Bella, you need to pick up your room before you go downstairs and watch a movie.
Bella: WHAT???  I CAN’T DO IT BY MYSELF!
Me: Uh, yes you can.  You messed it up by yourself.
Bella: Well… You just don’t get me.

Me: Roman, why did you take everything out of both toy boxes?
Roman: Because I’m taking a bath.
Me: That’s not a bathtub.  That’s a toy box.  Please get out of the toy box and pick everything up so someone doesn’t hurt themselves tripping on one of your toys.
Roman: I’m taking a bath.

Kids are like little sponges.  They soak up knowledge like crazy.  Then apply their hilarious kid-spin.  Thus, parenthood is constantly having to hold in your laughter so your kids don’t think you’re laughing at them.  (Even though you are internally dying.)

Bella: Mom. The pee is the drink and the poop is the food. Dad told me that. Or maybe I misunderstood.

Bella: Mom, what’s a sweet tooth?
Me: it means you like desserts. I have a sweet tooth and so do you.
Bella: Oh! Which tooth is it?

Bella: Mommy, how do you spell “hath” like “I hath to do sonthig”?
Me: h-a-v-e
Bella: No! I HATH to! Not THAT word!

Bella: Mom, how do you spell “nut”?
Me: “N-U-T”
Bella: Thaaaank you. And how do you spell “case”? Nutcase. It’s a compound word!

Roman: Mommy, is this my lunch?
Me: No, Roman. Boogers are not your lunch. Get your finger out of your nose.
Roman: They’re from my nose!

Bella: Mom, no one knows if snakes are sleeping or not.  Because they don’t have those things that blink.  But I know.  Actually, I don’t.

School can be challenging for “spirited” children, such as mine.  Not scholastically but socially.  It’s like trying to fit a super-smart hexagon-shaped peg into a boring, ordinary square hole.  I discovered this last year when my Bella started kindergarten.  Parenthood can be so vexing.

Bella: Mom, Melissa thought I was trying to cut her hair. But I wasn’t.
Me: Why would she think that?
Bella: I just wanted her to hear the scissors… Mrs Kirshner took my scissors away but she didn’t know I have an extra pair!

Me: Bella.  Did you have to go to the Principal’s Office today?
Bella:  No.
Me:  Mrs. Cope sent me an email and said that she sent you to the Principal’s Office.
(For the record, I cried when I got an email saying my kindergartener was sent to the Principal’s Office.)
Bella: No.  It was Ms. Boyd’s office.  She’s the Assistant Principal.
Me: Why did you have to go to Ms. Boyd’s office, Bella?
Bella: I didn’t pull the fire alarm.  I just touched it.

Me: Bella! How was your trip to the zoo?
Bella: Good.
Me: What animals did you see?
Bella: I don’t really wanna talk about it.

Kids are incredibly, sometimes painfully honest.  Parenthood is eye-opening.

Bella: Mom, you need a new look. An old-fashioned look. From the 90’s.

Bella: Mom, when you coach my cheerleading you should wear makeup. It covers up your crinkles.

Me: Bella, do you like my hair better curly or straight?
Bella: Curly. When it’s straight it’s kinda like, you know, like the way bad air smells? That’s how it looks.

Me: BELLA! I have to tell you something really important.
Bella: What?!
Me: I love you so much!
Bella: Mom, that’s not important. Breaking news is important. This is not breaking news.

They know exactly what they want making my job feel pointless.

Bella picking up a 10-pack of candy hearts at the store: Mom, these are my favorite candy!  Be-be ma-be ma… I have no idea what they say.

Bella: Nonna, you can call me Bella.  Or Flame.

Me: It’s important to decide what kind of person you want to be, Bella. For example, if you want to be a good person then –
Bella: Um no, Mom. Scratch that. I don’t want to be a good person. I want to be AWESOME.

And what they don’t want making my job, well, still feel pointless.

Bella: Mom, I am NOT supposed to be in cold weather.

Me: Roman, why did u wait until after I opened the pop tart to tell me u didn’t want it?
Roman: You talk funny and I’m a clown.

Sometimes it seems they have ALL the answers.  Parenthood can be so confusing.

Bella: Mom, you have to circle a time you’re available for Roman’s celebrating cultures day.
Me: I’m from the US so I don’t know what my culture is.
Bella: No, you’re from Mississippi.

Bella: Mommy & Daddy sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love then comes Mary. Next comes Mary with a baby carriage. That’s not all, that’s not all. Here comes Mary with a baseball bat.
Me: Why does Mary have a baseball bat?
Bella: Cuz she stole the baby!

Bella: Roman, pick a number.
Roman: 3
Bella: You’re getting married.
Roman: To you?
Bella: That’s illegal, right, mom?

Sometimes they just need a little reassurance.  Parenthood just is what it is.

Roman: Mommy, where is Thor’s hammer?
Me: You have it, Roman.
Roman: That’s right!

Bella: Um, Mooommmmy, um, you know, um, you, um, Moooommy, um. Hey!  Mommy, can I like um……. Can I, um, when is Brooke moving?
Me: She moved a month ago, Bella.

Kids can be very sympathetic.  Parenthood is rewarding!

Bella: Mom, I feel sorry for you. It must hurt!  Having two children!!

Me: Roman! Stop jumping on me!
Roman: I was just giving you a courtesy flush!

And adorably sweet.  Parenthood is something I wouldn’t trade for all of the world.

Roman: Mommy, can I keep you forever?

Bella: Roman, you shine my day.

If you’ve never experienced a simultaneous feeling of love and nausea, try this one:

Roman: Mommy, you can go on a date with me! Get on my motorcycle.

And sometimes parenthood elicits a feeling that can’t be described.  With words.  Usually because I’m laughing too hard.  Or just plain dumbfounded.

Roman: Bella, did you get your pajamas on?
Bella: WHAT? No! Do you think I’m ludicrous??? Mom, what does ludicrous mean?

Bella: Mom, what if Roman’s middle name was Middle Name?!  What if my middle name was Middle Name.  I bet my teacher would have a hard time spelling it!

Bella: I was literally throwing up in my brain.

Me: Bella, you may want a sweatshirt this morning.
Bella: Well, where is it?
Me: Probably in your bedroom.
Bella: Oh. Well, I’m good. No need to waste a good day!

Parenthood is a state in and of itself.  Rewarding, taxing, confusing, self-assuring, empowering, deflating all mashed together.  But when a little love nugget wraps her or his arms around you and tells you that you are loved… #imelt.

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Parenthood’s A Battlefield

Love isn’t a battlefield.  That is a myth perpetuated by Pat Benatar.

DARN YOU, PAT AND YOUR CATCHY TUNES!

Parenthood is the real battlefield.  Only the enemy isn’t really an enemy.  It’s an adorable little person that you love more than life itself.

Ever tried sleeping in the same bed as a 3 year old?

Ever woken up with a black eye and a broken nose?

When my son gets mad, I could very well see whatever is in his hand come flying at my face.  Surprisingly, he has amazing aim.  Or, I could become the victim of an attempted head butt.  It’s really aggressor’s choice at that point.  But it keeps me agile.  I like that.

As they grow older the battle turns from physical to psychological.

For example, my daughter needs help with her homework.  So I offer to help.  She is supposed to come up with words that end in –ight.  Easy.  Here is the space she has to write those words:

Empty Text Box

And she does this:

Text Box

So I say, “Why don’t you rewrite that word smaller so that you have room for the other words you think of that end in –ight”.

I get this response after she throws her pencil, “YOU JUST DON’T GET ME!  I’LL NEVER GET IT RIGHT!  YOU JUST DON’T LOVE ME!”  And then she storms upstairs as dramatically as possible.  Mos def Academy Award worthy.

Wow, that’s intense.

A few minutes later she comes back to the table like nothing happened…

My hubs: Uh…

Me: Don’t question it…

It’s a fact that growing up is hard.  Surviving it as a parent is just as difficult.  But alcohol makes it better.  Alcohol infused cupcakes makes it great.  Just sayin.

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Never Say Never

Sounds like a James Bond movie, doesn’t it? Brilliant.

Almost every time I’ve declared, “NEVER!” I think God has smiled a little inside, grabbed some popcorn, and settled in to watch the critically acclaimed miniseries, “NEVER! Well… maybe… Ok, FINE!” starring ME.

First up, we have babies. Nope. I’m not gonna have any. Too much responsibility! Plus, I don’t know what to do with a BAY-BEE!

So God gave me this one:

silly bella

Then he gave me this one:

FullSizeRender

Turns out, I’m the BEST MOMMY EVER! My kiddies both said so… soooo that means it’s true.

Ewe. I’ll never shop at a “MOM” store. Blah. Oh! Look at that cute dress at New York and Company! Hey! Look at the new shirt I got at CATO! I’m so stylish. Funny, God. Vurry funny.

Um, no, I don’t do oysters. That I still won’t do. Yuck, those nasty loogie-textured things…

Mini-van? Nope. I’ve held out by getting a Yukon instead. Aka, the mini-van for moms who refuse to get a mini-van. Does that count?

Oh, to drink? “I’ll just have water with lemon” I’ll never say! Who orders “WATER”??? I’d never order gross water! Well, now I do. Judge away, younger me!

Next up, we have divorce.

Awe, bless her heart. She’s divorced… that’ll never happen to me. I’m going to read all the articles and pray really hard and nope, no d-i-v-o-r-c-e for me!

Turns out, if you marry the first guy I married you’ll end up divorced. Just ask his newest ex-wife.

Which brings me to my next “NEVER! Becomes FINE!” moment. When my ex-whatever-he-was and I divorced, it was mainly because he “fell in love” with someone else. While I was pregnant. And my dad had a stroke that left him permanently disabled. And my dog died on my birthday. And I was 3,000 miles away from home. Cue anything by Willie Nelson.

At first I didn’t blame the “other woman”. But… then I realized she knew about all of it. She knew he was married. She knew I was pregnant. Needless to say, I wasn’t her biggest fan. I would NEVER forgive her for her part. Ever. I didn’t want to speak to her, I didn’t want her to be near my baby, I didn’t care to ever hear her name (which, unfortunately for me at the time, is a very popular name).

Fast forward 6 years, they are married with one baby and one on the way. Then he takes me to court so that he can exercise his visitation in Seattle. Awe, that’s cute, right?? A military guy who just wants to see his daughter. UH-UH. He talked to my daughter maaaaybe once a month on the phone and miiiiight see her once every 18 months. I was desperate. And I was convinced that there was something motivating this and it wasn’t “fatherly love”.

One lovely day, a dear, dear friend divulged some interesting information: there might be trouble in paradise and she might HATE him.

Ugh. What do I do? She might be the only person who can help make sure he can’t take my baby… I prayed… and thought about it… and crossed my fingers… and reached out to her.

Let’s just say she was more than willing to help me. My bet paid off. It was risky. She could have double-crossed me. It could have backfired. Are we best friends? No. But before I picked up the phone I’d already forgiven her for whatever part she had. FYI, if it weren’t her it would have been someone else (Seriously. I can rattle off ten names right now).

After the divorce that left me bitter, angry, and hollow do you think I swore off marriage??? YOU BET I DID!!!!!!! Am I now married to my best friend? You bet I am. God, that’s some sense of humor you have! But if this guy is the punch line, I’ll be the joke 😉

I’ll never be one of those weirdos that eats organic. Such a load of crap. I’ll never like spinach. I’m not a runner… I’ll never run a 5k. I’ll never wear mom jeans (in my defense, I didn’t realize they were mom jeans until I got home from the store. It was quite unfortunate). I’ll never clean! (I said that one just the other day. Then I thought a friend was coming over and I was embarrassed that she might see my house in that state.) All things I’ve said and all things that have turned out happening…

So just for shats and giggles:

I’ll NEVER be rich! I’ll NEVER have a huge beach house! Heh… 🙂

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