Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Out with the old, In with the New Year

Want to know how I'm spending my New Year's Eve?

I'm sitting at home, listening to the waves of Aubrey's sound machine, sitting next to my husband and typing this. And that's okay. I am perfectly okay with this. If it was a year ago, or hell, even six months ago, this might not have been the case. I think a part of me was holding onto a life that wasn't really mine anymore. I've been lucky thus far, with a husband who didn't mind my weekly outings and a baby and now toddler who slept through the night and woke up rather late. But soon there will be an infant in the house, two children, and there's just no going back after that. Not that I'd want to, anyways.

With the new year only hours away, I figured I'd take a look back on this last year. It's been filled with so much...everything. There's been love, so much love, and hope and fear and what if's and hopefully not's. We've had successes and failures, endings and beginnings.

Remembering everything is like watching a fast-track reel of life in all of it's glorious, chaotic beauty.


I've never really been into the whole New Year's Resolutions thing. The way I see it, why wait until the new year to start something? But I've made myself promises lately, and I want to write them down. Call them what you like, but this new year, I am sticking to them. Here they are, in no specific order:

1. Spend more time making memories and capturing those memories.
2. Spend more time as an active participant in the world around me by staying off of my phone and Kindle.
3. Be more patient with Aubrey and commit to remembering that he is still a baby! (sort of)
4. Love more, and show it more often.
5. Spend less money on unnecessary things.
6. Write another book.
7. Do a new project every month, and finish it!

Some of these things may seem like no brainers, but I find myself lost in my own world so often that I realize I'm missing out on the real world around me. It's not really a bad thing, reading books and writing them, creating characters in my head, but when it takes away from time with your family, maybe it's not such a good thing. I've got to learn to manage my time and separate my fictitious worlds from my real one.

Take today, for example. It was beautiful out, and when I said to Aubrey, "Let's go downtown," he responded, "Yay! I love downtown!"

And he did- love it, that is. We played soccer on a lawn with the greenest grass I've ever seen, and watched the tourists gawk at the sun and the water and the yachts. We walked and we talked. We got ice cream and I smiled when he fell asleep in the car. It was the perfect last day to a perfect year.


And that perfect day ended with a bang for Aubrey. Literally.


I can't wait to see what 2014 has instore for us.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Pictures of Truth

It's funny how, when doing things for the second time, everything feels brand new again. Last night was like that night before the Disney World trip. I couldn't sleep. And when I did fall asleep, I dreamt I was at the doctors, waiting to find out whether our baby was a boy or a girl. 

Even though I finally felt at peace with the possibility of having girl, I still had my hopes and intuition. I felt it was a boy, but everyone who was screaming GIRL got it in my head that maybe my feeling was nothing but a wishful notion.



There was a lot of anticipation this morning. I woke up feeling fine but then got those nervous butterflies that make you feel like you need to throw up rather than tickle your stomach. I don't even know why. It's just an anatomy scan, I told myself. It doesn't matter either way.

It didn't help that Aubrey demanded to ride in the car in silence. He refused any and all music, saying that it sounded better off. So we sat in the quiet at red lights and listened to the wheels spinning against upturned asphalt the rest of the time. Every once in a while I'd look at him through the rearview mirror and catch him staring out of the window, finger in his mouth and eyes wide open. I wondered what he was seeing- how amazing this world must seem to him. And then I thought, I get to do this all over again. I get to experience a continuous stream of firsts. A life on fast forward, from beginning to adulthood; one that I'll actually remember (most of). I get to do it all over again, and maybe that sounds like it'd be a bit redundant, but it's exactly the opposite. It's exciting. It's a second chance, but without the regrets.

We finally arrive a the doctor's office, and I tell Aubrey, "We're going to go see the baby now, and it's very  important that you sit still and be quiet like a mouse."
"Okay, Mommy," he whispers. The whispering continued into the waiting room and finally into the ultrasound room, where he grew very bored and touched every sterile surface in there. I had this idea that he would be awed by the black and white baby on the screen, but he honestly could have cared less. And when we told him, "Aubrey, you're going to have a baby BROTHER!" He just about cried. He was confused, insisting that it was just a baby. He got it eventually, though  (I think), and then asked, "So where's my baby sister?"


Just a little bit of backstory on these pictures. They look all cute and perfect, right? Well, that just goes to show a bit of perspective. On your side of the screen, you see a cute little boy with a cute gender reveal idea, with bright colors and big smiles. On MY side of the lens, it was windy, we almost lost two balloons (we only had two of each color) and Aubrey refused to smile or pay attention to anything other than the balloons half the time. It was kind of a disaster. Sorry if that ruins it all, but I just thought you'd like an idea of what you missed- of what we miss a lot of the times. Pictures may speak a thousand words, but which thousand words are the truth? 

In case you were curious, here is the picture of the GIRL reveal. It was actually my favorite one of the whole shoot, so I was secretly hoping it was going to be a girl. But only for a second, because then I remembered how I really loved this blue and white fabric at Joann's and how perfect it would look in Aubrey's very boy room. (And yes, I associate blue with boy, so sorry if you think that's politically incorrect.)


Our next reveal will be the name, which may take longer than it did with Aubrey. Todd and I cannot agree on anything. I like very unisex names, (as proof with Aubrey) and he doesn't. So when I offer something like Whitney, he looks at me like I just sprouted an extra head and took off on wings. It was even worse when we discussed possible girl names. We'll see what happens, though, because nobody liked Aubrey's name at first, and now everybody can't imagine him being called anything else. I feel like that's always the case. I'm sure the first person to call a car a car got some funny looks, but does anyone question it now? 

Names are super important to me, and I am really picky about choosing one with a strong meaning. Aubrey's name means Noble Ruler and so I feel like we need something just as strong/unisex for this baby. It's hard to find anything that isn't already popular or has a generic meaning like Son of Adam. I'm hoping that I'll be reading a  book or watching a movie or walking down the street and someone yells, "Hey insert unique name here," and it'll be love at first sight/sound.

Until then, baby will continue to be called Monster, because if today's ultrasound is any indication of what's in store for us (stubborn guy refused to show his face or his heart no matter how much poking or prodding, so we have to go back in a few weeks) then we're in for a world of trouble. What are the chances that I'd get two sleep-through-the-night, breastfeeds-like-a-champ, never-cries infants in a row? 

Pretty slim, I'd say.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Review

If you're anything like me, then you'll understand when I say that I have good intentions. I intend to clean the bathroom and finish laundry. I intend to put down the book and go grocery shopping. I intend to do a lot of things. And anyways, don't they always say it's the thought that counts?

Well, two of the things that I have been intending to do are to blog more often and to actually use the camera that I paid a lot of money for. I started brainstorming ways that I could set a goal for myself by combining the two- blogging and photography- and I came up with this. It's the Sunday Review! 

Every Sunday I'll post a blog with pictures from the last week- things we did, places we went. I figured, not only will it keep me up to date on pictures, but it will also get us out of the house and exploring new places. It's a win-win, right?

So this is week 1. It's not too exciting, since it's mostly just Aubrey being Aubrey, so bear with me. 

~~~

While grocery shopping the other day (yes, it happens sometimes) we stumbled upon this ginger bread house kit and decided to give it a try. Well, it's been a pretty interesting experiment. Not only did Meaghan and I end up putting the whole thing together ourselves (you can't trust a toddler with icing and candy) I caught Aubrey sneaking off to eat it SEVERAL times. 

I'm sitting in the living room, or maybe getting dressed after having just gotten up, and I realize that it's dead silent in the house, which every mom knows is a bad thing. So I call Aubrey's name and get no answer. I walk into all the rooms, search under the tables (he likes to hide from me) and nothing. And then, in the midst  of the eerie silence, I hear a smacking of lips. I run around the corner and there he is, hovering over the ginger bread house with a Dot in his mouth and his hand reaching for the landscaping. 

At this point I'm laughing because he's trying so hard to swallow the Dot that's stuck in this teeth, while at the same time scrambling off the bar height chair to run from me. I couldn't be mad, not really. I probably would have eaten it too, if I liked Dots.


~~~

Todd's mom (Grammy to Aubrey) bought these awesome "snowballs" for the grandkids (let's be honest, it was for the Uncles) while the family was in town. It was great. Aubrey and Todd staged a coop and were pretty easily flanked by the older/much faster children. The "snowballs" were basically just giant cotton balls so you could literally pelt someone in the face and not get in trouble. It was interesting to watch, as long as you stayed out of the way.


~~~

And of course, Christmas morning. I posted about Christmas already, so I won't say much more about it, except that it was so special. I never used to be a Christmas person (I know, I know) until this kid came around. Watching his eyes light up with excitement makes my heart smile so hard.


~~~

One of the things I told all of the grandparents and uncles and aunts was that I wanted outdoor stuff for Aubrey. The toys he has he barely plays with. It's always, "Let's go outside, Mommy." And so Todd and I got him tee-ball gear, which we were afraid he wouldn't enjoy, being too small and all. We were totally wrong. He hits those balls like he's been doing it for years. I was so proud.


~~~

Another thing I wanted to get back into was sewing. With the new baby coming, there are a lot of things I can make instead of buy, and save tons of money in the process. The fabric in the picture is for a nursing cover. Even though we don't know if it's a boy or a girl (yet) I just couldn't pass it up. It is chevron, after all. I also plan on making crib sheets and a ring sling (again) and am so excited to be able to make them in all the cute patterns that stores never have.


~~~

This isn't a new bike. My parents got it for Aubrey a while ago, but he was never into it. I think he was too small to actually get the petals going, and his patience is very short. So when he couldn't move, he'd get up and say, "I'm done, Mommy." I would try and try with no success. Until this week. I pulled it out of the garage, determined to get him going, and soon enough he was peddling down the street at a solid 1 mph. He loved it. When I went to take this picture, he looked back just to make sure I was following. "You coming, Mommy?" he said, and being all emotional and stuff, I whispered, "Always." 



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Enough is enough

Guys, it's Christmas 2013. TWENTY THIRTEEN. How crazy is that? I know I've said it before, like a million times, but time is flying. I can vividly remember being twenty and pregnant as if it was yesterday. Now I'm 23, pregnant AND I have a toddler. My life... it's surreal. It's something I've always wanted- to be a wife and a mom- but now that I'm here, I can't help but pinch myself every so often because it just seems too good to be true.

I'm blessed beyond belief, and today was another day for life to prove just that.

It's not that anything special happened, besides the fact that everything about today was special. Aubrey tore through heaps of wrapping paper to reveal the surprises underneath, each one more exciting and screech worthy than the last.

That's his excited face, believe it or not.

He acted as if each gift was the best thing he had ever received, no matter how big or small. And I'm proud to say that he never once asked for more or was disappointed with what he got. In fact, the smaller things seemed to keep his attention longer. I know he's young, and things like wanting and wishing come later, but he made me smile each time he gave someone a hug and thanked them. It's impossible for a toddler to be anything but sincere or honest. 

Mostly, though, we made sure to remind him constantly that today was Jesus' birthday. When he asked why we got presents on His birthday, I had to explain that we celebrate His life by giving to others. That it's more important to give than to receive, and when Todd expressed how cool one of Aubrey's presents was, Aubrey said, "Here daddy, it's for you," and handed it to him without second thought. I hope he never loses that spirit of giving. Of sharing and being selfless. 

~~~

This pregnancy has gone by crazy fast. With Aubrey, every moment lasted a lifetime. It felt as though I was pregnant forever. Now here I am, basically halfway through, and it feels as though I've been pregnant for all of two days. I can still remember when I found out, at just four weeks, and the reaction Todd had when I left the stick on the dresser for him to find. He had just gotten home from a  long day of work, and went into the room to change. When he emerged just a few seconds later, he had a big smile on his face and hugged me so tight I thought I might burst. "Who's up for round two?" I said, and I couldn't help but fall in love with him a little bit more. Because even though we weren't in a very good position to be expanding our family, he was excited, and he continues to be more so everyday.

And this baby moves. All throughout the day he kicks and wiggles and pushes for more room. It never gets old.
 
We find out the sex on Monday, and while it would be so much easier to have another boy, I've come to realize that I don't care either way. I'm not going to lie- girls scare me. Growing up, I was surrounded by baby boys and when I had a boy myself, I knew how to handle it. But sometimes I watch girls with their parents, from toddlers to teenagers, or remember myself or my sister as we were, and I find myself hoping for another boy. But if you ask Aubrey what he wants, he'll tell you he just wants a baby. 

Because in the grand scheme of things- boy or girl- it's a baby, a beautiful, chaotic, exhausting, completely-worth-it baby that will steal your heart and love either way. 

~~~

Sometimes, when I'm writing, I run into these moments where I don't know what else to say. Where the first or the second or even the third thing that pops into my head is something about how blessed I am, because I truly am. That word is seriously an understatement. But I think, mostly, what I want people to see and understand is that I'm normal. Average. Middle class. 

My husband and I live with my parents. We survive on one income and one (working) car. We shop at Target and Marshall's and Goodwill, and we most often replace going out for staying in. 

I have bad days just like you. I have days where I sit down and look at everything around me and wonder how I got myself into such a mess. That's usually when I'm literally in the middle of a mess, but regardless. You get the point.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that my life isn't perfect by most people's standards, but it's perfect for me. It's what I need and it's enough, and I think that's what a lot of people tend to overlook. There is such a thing as enough and there's no limit to it. 

~~~

I hope your Christmas was enough. I hope you spent it with your family or loved ones, and if you didn't or weren't able to, I hope you smiled anyways because today is another day and another chance. 







Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing


I went to the midwife today with some paranoid concerns... I hadn't felt the baby move in a while and I was worried. Not enough to worry, you know? But then I thought, if something is wrong, and I don't go, would I ever be able to forgive myself?

The answer was no, and so I called.

Everything was fine. She said the baby's in there pretty deep, which is why it was hard to feel him move around. The downside of going to the doctor when you're pregnant- finding out how much weight you've gained.

With Aubrey, I gained 40 pounds, but all of that weight gain was mostly at the end. I was wearing my pre-pregnancy jeans for a good portion of his pregnancy, but with this one, I'm already in maternity pants because everything else is just so uncomfortable. The midwife kind of chuckled when she told me, and I was like, damn, I should really lay off the junk food.

But you know what? I like junk food. I mean, I don't eat it too often, not enough to like clog my arteries and stop my heart. I just...eat it every once in a while. And I know that I could probably exercise, should probably exercise, but I'm tired and out of breath most of the time. Honestly, going to the gym or finding clothes to work out in are the last things on my mind.

But I don't feel bad about it. I don't think there's anything wrong with the fact that I've gained 12 pounds already. Yeah, maybe it's a lot, but I'm not unhealhty- my blood pressure is perfect and my baby is happy.  Does it matter that I can't fit into my jeans still? Does it matter that  my face is a little fuller and you can barely see my collar bones?

I'm not worried about it. 

I just like food, okay? And I'm hungry, like, all. the. time. What's a hormonal girl to do?

Speaking of hormonal... I'm not a crier, okay? I just don't cry. I don't do feelings and emotions very well, I'm not a super lovey dovey person (except with Aubrey- I could smother him all day) and I'm pretty terrible at noticing when someone else's feelings are hurt. But now that I'm pregnant? Everything makes me cry. Books, movies, stupid little arguments, when I spank/reprimand Aubrey and then feel bad about it...
(which, by the way, makes it extremely hard to do any kind of disciplining)

On top of that, Aubrey has been saying/doing the sweetest things lately. Like telling me I'm the best mommy ever, hugging and kissing me every chance he gets, falling asleep on my bed (he has never. EVER. slept in my bed. I think I'm addicted...) and even asking me to lay with him in his bed at night. So of course, while the two of us are snuggled up in his crib, and he puts his hand on my face and cozies into my neck, and I can feel his baby breath and smell his hair... I start to cry.

And I've realized... crying feels good. It really does..especially when it's happy tears. I might do it all the time. JUSTKIDDING.

Anyway, this was kind of a pointless post- I guess they all are, really- but here is a picture of Aubrey snoozing because I don't ever get to see it enough. Two days in a row...Maybe it'll be a new thing for us. I can see it now...Two babies and I taking little afternoon naps without a care in the world. Bliss.

That finger.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Rose Colored Glasses

So. Last night, we had an epic battles of wills.

And I lost.

It went something like this:

For dinner, I made a cheesy vegetable lasagna thing, and it was pretty darn good. I guess it was like a veggie alfredo, but whatever. I decided to put some in a bowl for Aubrey and see if he would try it. He didn't. He straight up refused and began to throw a temper tantrum in his high chair. Usually I leave it alone and make him something else, but I was annoyed. He's two and a half and still won't feed himself, eats only mac&cheese, pb&j, grilled cheese or chicken nuggets for dinner, and has a meltdown if I offer anything else.

It was getting old.

So I told him that if he doesn't take a bite, ONE BITE, that he couldn't get down. It's not like I was asking him to eat the whole thing. It was one. frikkin. bite. But he refused, and so I left him in his high chair. For two hours.

Before you go on thinking that I'm an awful mother and how could I? I'll let you know that I was in the room with him, and I offered him the opportunity to get out of that high chair every 10 minutes. I even offered him ice cream and lollipops and gummies, if only he would take a bite.

At that point, I knew that he was saying "No" simply because he could, and I learned that he has the strongest will, which isn't a bad thing. When it came down to it, I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do; continue letting him refuse the food and put him to bed without dinner (which was what he wanted) or keep trying to get him to take a bite.

It may sound silly, but I felt like a failure. And maybe it's because I'm super emotional right now, but I wanted give up and cry and call him a bully. I kept thinking, I can't win against one. How will I win against two?

And maybe it's not about winning. Maybe it's about learning and being consistent and persistent and doing the best you can, but it still doesn't mean that I felt good about it. In fact, a lot of the times, I feel like I'm doing a terrible job. I feel like, as a mother, I have failed more than I have been victorious. I also know that I'm not the only one.

At least I hope.

I watched this video the other day, and of course I balled my eyes out, but really it reminded me of something: Kids see the world through rose colored glasses.

They won't remember that time you yelled, but they will remember the time you let them stay up late or eat ice cream or took them to Disney World. Even after all of the screaming and crying and spanks and timeouts, Aubrey kissed me and hugged me last night and told me that I was his best friend ever.

At the end of the day, the love between a parent and a child is unconditional.

 I may have lost one battle, but the war is constantly waging. I know that it's my duty to not only make sure that I raise my child right, but also to make sure that those rose colored glasses stay intact. I hope that they will always be able to see the beautiful and the good in the world.

And as a mom, I have to remind myself that my best is good enough. It will always be good enough.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Growing Perspective

It's strange how one person can become so ingrained into your life that it's as if they're a part of you, a part of the very fabric that makes up your skin and the seams that hold your heart together. How, when they're gone for a few days, you're forced to notice the emptiness of the room or the extra hole in the toothbrush holder. How there's no weight on the other side of the bed, and you actually stay on your side without it. 

It's only then that you realize how much you depend on that person; to clean the dishes from dinner, to put the baby's socks on before bed, to kill a roach quietly when the baby's asleep. 

Some of you may know, and most of you do not, but two weeks prior, Todd was let go from his job at Target. A job that became a huge blessing when Aubrey was just a baby and I was able to stay home and raise him. A job that allowed Todd to be home at 2:30 on weekdays and have weekends and holidays off. It was something we knew was coming, but after months of nothing happening, we thought he'd dodged the bullet. We thought a miracle had happened. But then the news came and the decision was made and we were left wondering what would happen next.

With a baby on the way and a growing toddler, it's a scary thing to realize that you're income-less. You start to look at things a bit differently- like those five dollars that weren't a big deal before, and suddenly it's five dollars. Or how you're running out of every face product you own and buying them all would mean spending thirty dollars you suddenly don't have. The cell phones you thought you couldn't live without become a luxury. The car sits more often because driving is just too expensive. You're conscious of every decision you make, of every cent you spend. And then you feel guilty when you're out longer than expected, didn't bring enough food to eat, and end up having to buy a cheeseburger before you get sick. 

And it's easy, especially at times like this when the situation takes your husband away from home for a few days, to be mad. To get emotional and angry and to blame someone. Because it has to be someone's fault, right? This can only mean heartache and struggle, right?

But then I think, what if it doesn't? What if this means something new, something better?

I'm not really sure that it does. What I do know is that I've been here before, not with kids and my own family, but as part of a family struggling to make ends meet. I've watched my dad work any job to put food on our table. I've watched him set his pride aside, take help when offered, and thank God for blessings that were small to others but huge for us. 

So I know we'll get through this. I know that I am blessed to have friends and family who love us and support us. I know that I am blessed to have a husband who is humble and willing to do whatever needs to be done.

And I know that, even though at this very moment, I feel afraid and lonely and am holding back tears, I am not alone.

It's times like these that I'm reminded of how much I have, of how much I take for granted. Sometimes life knocks you down on your knees to get a different perspective- everything looks so much bigger when you're smaller, and it's only then that you realize you need help to carry the load. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Really Love Your Peaches, Let Me Shake Your Tree

There's been a lot of stuff going around on FB and other social sources lately about living in your twenties. How to live them, how not to live them, what to do and where to go and who to love. Like there's some kind of rule about it, But the thing is, there isn't. There's not only no rule-book to your twenties, but there's no rule-book to life in general. End of story. Society likes to make you think otherwise- that there are certain things that are acceptable in each stage of our lives. School and establishing your career in your twenties, have some children in your thirties (you know, when you're financially stable.) And so on and so forth. It's a mold, a pre-cast chain of events that, if done differently, are frowned upon.

Children in your twenties? You've made your life so much harder for yourself.
Traveling instead of going to school? You'll never earn a degree and therefore a decent job.
Unmarried and childless in your thirties? Your biological clock is ticking!

And for some odd reason, we as women have begun to cast others into these molds. We wonder why our married friends don't yet have children, or seem to want any. We wonder why our single friends can't seem to stay in one place long enough to find their person. We wonder how they could possibly want anything else besides a family when it's just so rewarding.

Or maybe you see your friends with kids fighting over who gets to change the diaper and you wonder why they didn't wait; take a nice long honeymoon, go on a cruise on a whim. You see the woman married to her career and you wonder why she throws her life into a seemingly lonely cycle of work, rinse, repeat. Maybe you look at the woman working at Panera and wonder when she'll ever get the motivation to do something more.

Here's my thing; is there any right way? Any wrong way? Is there a timeline, a due date, an expiration date? Yeah, sure, there's the possibility of dying (it happens to the best of us) but will it even matter then, what so-and-so did with their lives when it's come to such an abrupt end? Will anyone ever say, well, she could have been so much more, if only she had went to school. And now she'll never have the chance.

I certainly hope not.

When I read articles or blogs or posts or whatever talking about people living selfishly, the only thing I wonder is: is it so selfish to want to enjoy your life? To travel? To learn outside of the box?
Is it so wrong for someone to want to see what's in the world, not from the pages of a textbook surrounded by others who couldn't give a crap about the political system of the Netherlands, but from the very origins of that system itself?
Is it so wrong to have the urge to place your feet where the stories themselves were born? To have enough motivation and passion to save all your money from your "low-end" job and go where everyone said you couldn't go? Or rather, where you wouldn't go.

That's not living selfishly; that's living freely. That's taking advantage of the time while you have it.

On the other side of things, a lot of women believe they've taken the high road by choosing to have a family and put that family above herself. As if choosing to love our own flesh and blood, and put them above ourselves, somehow makes us selfless. We cry for equality, for our jobs as stay at home moms to be viewed as important as the working women's lifestyle, and yet we claim that we are better than them, or different than them. In reality, choosing to have a family has nothing to do with being selfless; it has to do with responsibility. I am responsible for my children just as the working woman is expected to show up to her 9-5 job. Yes, my hours might be longer, my tasks a bit more tedious, but it in no way makes me more of a righteous person.

If you want an example of selflessness, look at the person who spends their entire twenties in school, studying all night and working all day towards a degree that has the potential to earn them six figures a year or more, and decides to use those skills and that knowledge to help dying children in Africa. That person, who chooses to love and to give to people who they don't know from Adam. That's just one example of many.

I'm not even going to talk about the rewards except to say this; do my rewards as a mother count as more than that of the women who just climbed Mt. Everest? Is my view better than hers? Is the smile of my son worth more than the view of the world? Maybe to me, but not to her. There's no way to properly compare the two, and anyone who does so is ignorant. Sorry if that sounds rude.

If you haven't gotten the gist of it yet, this is what I'm trying to say; whether you went to school and got a degree and are now working at your dream job, or you didn't go school and are working in some crappy restaurant or department store, or you got married and had babies, or you did all of the above, you are no less. But you are also no better.

We're all the same. Underneath the degrees and the jobs and the families and the obligations, we are all the same. We hurt, we love, we want, we give, we take. Whether you have someone to share all of that with or not doesn't make you more loved or wanted. And having someone to share all of that with you doesn't necessarily make you happier.

You choose your happiness. You choose where you go. And if you couldn't, or you haven't; if you're stuck somewhere because of some unforeseen events, you can still choose to be happy. You can choose to make your life more valuable.

And I'm out. I shall leave you with this quote, because it's my absolute favorite and because your life is your own; you are accountable to no one except yourself and your God. So choose to be happy.

"You could be the ripest, juciest peach in the world, and there will still be somebody who hates peaches."

(I personally love peaches, and I really hope this shook your tree.)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Play in the Rain


I hate to complain about the weather. We do, after all, live in South Florida, where the sun barely shines and it's hot 99.9% of the time. No exaggeration. I've come to expect this, and thus complain as little as possible.

But the past few days? They have sucked. It's not only rained non stop, from sunrise to sunset, but it's been thundering and therefore denying Aubrey the naps he so desperately needs. And so we are cranky, and mildly depressed since we haven't seen the sun in days. 

Yesterday, we're sitting in the house watching Sesame Street, when I decide to say, "Screw the rain!" To myself, at least. I got Aubrey's flip flops on, grabbed an umbrella, and we walked around the neighborhood and splashed in puddles for a good hour.

I forgot what it's like to be a kid and play in the rain.

























That was yesterday. He had been in a really good mood all week, despite the lack of naps, and I was starting to think that his terrible two's stage was over.

And then today happened.

Ever have those days where you just have to sit down, take a super deep breath and close your eyes? Cause otherwise you might strangle someone? No? Well, I have. I hate to say that my kid frustrates me, or exasperates me, or drives me frikkin crazy, but he does. He's a good kid, don't get me wrong, but there's just these days where I wonder what sort of alien has replaced him and how I can get said alien to disappear. 

But then he does something really sweet, and I'm all like, how are you so frikkin cute?! Tonight at dinner, we told Aubrey it was time to pray, so he bows his head and folds his little hands and begins to pray.

"Dear Jesus, thank you for the food and my chicken nuggets and my trees. Amen."
(trees=brocolli)

God must know what he's doing, because it's moments like that that erase all of the horrible thoughts I had been having all day (lock him in his room, glue him to a chair...) and remind me that I am blessed. 

I am blessed to have such an intelligent, obedient (for the most part), easy going child. I am blessed to have a husband that gets up at the butt crack of dawn and works all day, comes home, plays with Aubrey and then grills dinner. I am blessed to live in South Florida, with it's stupid rain and agonizing heat.

But of course, that doesn't mean that I won't get frustrated. It doesn't mean that I won't yell or wonder if I've lost my mind. It just means that, for every bad moment, for every deep sigh of frustration or eye roll of disbelief there will be ten moments of tear-jerking, heart-warming, love-abounding awesomeness. 

And I guess that's what it's all about; playing in the rain, instead of waiting for it to pass.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Monsters Under the Bed

If any of you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, than you know two things I refuse to do.

  1. Cut Aubrey's hair
  2. Put him in a big boy bed
Ignoring the pleas from my very opinionated loving parents, and the smart remarks from others, such as, "Oh my goodness, he can't see with all that hair in his face!" (meaning, CUT THAT HAIR) we have kept it long. I just can't bring myself to get rid of his beautiful blonde curls. What if the curls disappear? What if it all grows back in dark? I would never forgive myself. 

As far as the big boy bed goes, he had never tried to climb out of his crib, despite the fact that he absolutely could. I mean, he's been a head taller than the railing for quite some time now. And even though I was told that I was delaying his growth or some soup like that, I kept him in it. For my own sake. 

Selfish? Maybe. Smart? Yes. 

So lately he's been throwing fits at nap time. Literally throwing his arms and legs into the sides of the crib, rattling it so loudly that I honest to God thought it would shatter underneath him. It held up, of course, but the whole, not trying to climb out yet, went up into flames. 

One minute he was in his crib, and the next minute it was empty. I walked into his room to find him standing on the floor, telling me about how he lost his glow stick and was trying to find it. (The glow stick was a bribe to get him to nap. It didn't work.)

Two things ran through my head at that moment.
  1. This is creepy. I hadn't even seen him climb over the railing, even though I only looked away from the video monitor for less than a minute. It must have taken him ten seconds, tops, to scale the side and catapult over. I couldn't even be mad. I was actually quite impressed. And, 
  2. Thank GOD that didn't end in any broken bones.
After my initial shock and awe, I called Todd and told him we needed to convert the crib. We did so that evening, and after a bath and dinner, Aubrey was shown his new bed. He didn't seem too interested in it, really. I mean, I don't really blame him. A bed is a bed, right? So I'm sitting there thinking, this is gunna suck. I could just imagine him running into our room in the middle of the night, insisting on going out there. (which means going in the living room to play.)

But that didn't happen. I laid him down on his brand new pillow, covered him in his brand new blanket, and placed his familiar lion underneath his arm. Ten minutes later, he was passed out. And he stayed in that bed all night long. 

Ten points for mom.

It was only in the morning when, in the middle of a very peculiar dream, I heard the distant sounds of a door handle jiggling and sat in bed, waiting for my door to be thrown open and Aubrey to come in and announce his presence.

Only, that didn't happen.

I waited a solid two minutes and heard nothing but the whoosh of my fan. No toddler footsteps, no door pounding knocking. Nothing. His bed was empty, so I knew he was up and somewhere, probably getting into trouble. I jumped out of bed and ran to the door, threw it open and.................

came face to face with a pajama and socks clad Aubrey, standing in front of my door like a complete and total creeper. He looked up at me and said, all calmly, "Hi Mommy."

Why do kids insist on being so creepy? I mean, seriously. Not a cool thing to run into in a semi-dark house with thunder and rain as background music. 

Since it was 7:30 in the morning and I hadn't gone to sleep until almost 2, I dragged him into my room and demanded that he lie still and watched cartoons while I slept. I got in another hour and was good to go. 

Of course, the whole nap time fits hasn't been solved. Although he did fall asleep for a few minutes, something must have woken him up cause he was sitting up and screaming bloody murder in no time at all. He didn't get out of his bed, though. I think I instilled a healthy dose of fear into him when I told him that monsters lived under the bed...

Just kidding. I would never do that.

But really, it's not a bad idea.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Stuff Kids Say

It's been a little while since I've written, mostly because I just don't feel like I have the time. I probably do, if I really sit down and manage it, but that seems like a lot of work. Instead, I opt to run around like a chicken with my head cut off, spouting things like, god, is it really bedtime already? when dinner hasn't even been made yet.

But what can you do, right?

Since it's 11:30 at night and, well, I'm actually tired for once, this post will be short. But I felt like I needed to share some of the things Aubrey has been saying lately. I honestly don't know where he gets half of it.

(In response to I love you too) I love you three.
When asked why he said that, he replied, "Three bigger than two."

You're my favorite mommy ever.

You're a good friend.

It's not hot, it's warm!

I'm scared cause monsters are outside! (He refuses to believe that they're just trucks.)

(In response to the question why are you so cute?) Cause I Aubrey Lucas Wyckoff!

Phew, it's hot out here! (When we walk outside.)

Mommy, I sick. (When he's trying to get out of doing something.)

Do you want a spankin? (It's terrible, but I could not help but laugh when he said this. He put his hand up in the air and asked it all serious. Probably the funniest thing I could have imagined.)

I said don't do that, Mommy.

It's time for lunch! (When asked what time is it?)

*sigh* There's probably a lot more where all of that came from, but unfortunately, I don't remember them all. Which makes me sad. Because one day I'm going to look back and I'm going to wish I had recorded every single moment. It's not like it's impossible- with technology these days, I could save my entire life to a file. But it just doesn't occur to me in the middle of a diaper change to bust out the camera.

Even though my camera is my phone and my phone is always nearby. But whatever. You know what I mean.

And even though these past couple of days have been trying, I can whole-heartedly say that this stage of his life has been my favorite so far. But more on that another day.

Or night.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Support For the Webb Family

In my last post, I linked to a blog and mentioned an old friend. Growing up, I knew her as Amber Thomas, but now she's Amber Webb, married to the love of her life with two beautiful babies; Benjamin, who's 2, and Alexis, who's just over a month old.

Amber is a woman of God; one of the strongest I know. That much has always been true, but the last few years have really tested her faith. Benjamin was born with an extra chromosome, something she lovingly calls a designer gene and we all know as Down Syndrome. Family and friends cried and prayed along with her when she broke the news, but even in the midst of that trial, Amber's motto was God is good.

We followed along on her journey as she raised Benjamin with a husband who was serving our country; gone more often than not, but never once did Amber complain. She let us in on her thoughts and prayers, sometimes questioning but never doubting.

Then Micah, her husband, came home from having served in Afghanistan, and their family was complete.

When she announced that she was pregnant again, everyone celebrated. Another perfect addition to a beautiful family. Alexis Tara Webb was born on July 3rd, 2013, weighing 6 lbs. 5 oz. And just as everyone imagined, she is beautiful, with dark curly hair and a big smile already gracing this world.

No one could have anticipated the news that Amber would soon tell us: Alexis has cystic fibrosis.
To mention that it isn't fair would be a point made in vain. Again we are brought to our knees in tears and prayers for Amber and her family. Here is a link that will tell you more about the disease.

I'm writing you, not only to ask for your prayers for Amber and Micah in this hard time, but also to ask that you would consider making a donation. They are without health insurance and will be making the 3 hour trip to Dallas, Texas to pursue treatment multiple times a week, sometimes staying overnight.

They need a miracle from God and support from you. We know He has a plan. Help Him carry it out.
Amber's Blog has a donate link on the sidebar, which will lead to a Paypal account. Just in case that doesn't work, the Paypal link can be found below as well. Anyone can donate. Anyone can help. Everything, every cent, is appreciated.

Paypal Account for Alexis Webb


***Please share this post with everyone you know!

***UPDATE. The Webb family has been able to procure some sort of insurance since this has been written, but it's still not enough. Treatments for CF can be costly and overwhelming.

Friday, August 16, 2013

God's Perspective

I was in 5th grade when the Twin Towers came crashing down, broadcasted for all of the world to see. It was in Ms. Luce's creative writing class, surrounded by friends, that I remember thinking, what does this mean?
I knew that things would change, that the world would change; that the catastrophe surround by smoke and bodies would effect even us down in South Florida, but I didn't know what it all meant. Why it happened, what would come of it. While everyone else was wondering if it would happen again, I was wondering why it happened at all.

Later that week, maybe even that same day, my dad and I went to this little store somewhere off Military that sold american flags. Huge ones, the kind that fly high over buildings, and small ones, the ones that connect to the antenna of your car. We weren't the only people with the idea; the store was packed with others buying the symbol of freedom to hang above their houses, on their motorcycles, to proclaim to the world that We are one. We are united.
As we were leaving the store, a film crew from a news station stopped my dad, asked why it took a national crisis for us to come together. I remember thinking, she's right. We didn't have a flag already. These people didn't either. We're pretending.

A few years later, when my mom was sick and after my dad had been let go from his job, things got hard. There were times when we didn't know where dinner was going to come from, or if there would be a lunch to pack for the next day. There were times when we had no water in the house and we had to shower in our bathing suits with the next door neighbor's hose. I remember thinking, what does this mean? What is this for? But I put a smile on my face, went to school in my used uniform and pretended.

At this point, I had gotten it in my head that life was all about pretending. That we had to exist in this world where we had it all together, because we were less if we didn't. 

In December of last year, a close friend of mine passed away in his sleep. Twenty one years old and just...gone. A moment of time that slipped away and took him with it. When I got the call early Saturday morning, I remember asking, What does that even mean? I thought it was a joke. I thought, this can't be real. But as the news spread and the reality of it sank like a knife into a warm chest, twisting and turning and demanding to be felt, I acquiesced. I accepted, but it didn't make it okay. Acceptance didn't make it easier to understand. As I sat at his funeral, surrounded by the same friends from that fifth grade creative writing class, it hit me.

Understanding was never the point. And pretending to understand is like walking in circles. It never leads anywhere.

Today, as I read the words of an old friend, I tried again to understand. Tried, in vain, might I add, to see things from God's perspective. 
Not too long ago, on a Sunday morning at Christ Fellowship, Pastor Todd talked about the way we perceive things, and how we most likely have a different perspective than God. How our perceptions are skewed by our judgments, our insecurities, our expectations and life in general. When I closed my eyes, I imagined God up there looking down at all of us like tiny ants, watching us navigate through a world that he could see all of, while we're down here with just a fraction of his view in our sight. He's got the bigger picture. 

Even knowing that, I got frustrated, and then I got angry, and then I realized I was walking in circles. 

I will never stop wondering why the trails and tribulations of life are thrown at good people. I know that God only gives us what we can handle, and I know that a woman like Amber is the strongest there is, but it still doesn't solve the riddle of what it all means. It doesn't shed light on what will come of it all. I guess that's the human side of us, wanting to know the answers and understand the motives when maybe there aren't any at all. Motives would mean intentions, and I'm not sure that God is an intentional kind of guy. I think he's more of a realization kind of guy, one that, instead of presenting you with a reason to have faith, expects that you will realize that it's been there all along. I don't know if that makes sense. All of these words and memories and emotions are bouncing around my head like that little guy from Flubber.

In theory, I understand that one's emotions or pain doesn't devalue another's. If my back hurts, but yours is broken, it doesn't make mine hurt any less. And yet I can't help but sit back and slap myself mentally for ever complaining about anything. It's sad that someone else's trials cause us to become aware of what we have.

It's sad that a national crisis calls us to stand, when we should have been standing all along.

I know I'm rambling now, but the point of this post was to do just that. And also to encourage you to take stock of what you have. Sit down, grab a pen and paper, and write down all of the things you have to be grateful for. I'm sure when you intentionally think about it, you will realize that the amount far exceeds your expectations.

It put things in perspective for me. I hope it does for you too.


Cartoon Craze

I know I'm not alone when I say this: What is up with kid's cartoons these days?!

It's a very general statement to say that I hate them, but sometimes I really do. Who comes up with these things? And who decides,  I want to be a member of The Wiggles?

Some of them aren't so bad. Bubble Guppies is cute and educational, the songs are actually pretty catchy, and there is some witty dialogue thrown in there, I'm sure for the adults that are inevitably watching.

Then there's Team Umizoomi, which, yeah, can be annoying as hell, but besides their super irritating voices and the insanely bright colors and strange patterns, it's not that bad.

Dora the Explorer and Diego, which have been around forever, have some sort of appeal, since it's bilingual. It happens to be Aubrey's favorite, because he's bilingual too and he really likes the whole song and dance thing.

PBS of course has some decent stuff too, like Super Why and Sesame Street. Oh and that one show where everything is made out of words. I think that one's pretty clever.

But then Yo Gabba Gabba comes on, and I want to throw something at the TV. Were the creators high when they thought of it? I can see it now, a bunch of stoned college guys sitting around in a That 70's Show kind of room, and one of them is like, hey, let's make a show for kids with a bunch of colors and a really strange guy and some really creepy...I don't know, what are they? Puppets? People? Animals? Whatever they are, it's creepy. The songs are creepy, their voices are creepy, and the way that one green thing moves his arms freaks me out.

And The WigglesThe freakin' Wiggles. Maybe it's normal over on the other side of the Atlantic, but a bunch of grown men singing and dancing around with a bunch of little children is...weird.

Does anyone else find it weird that someone, or something is always trying to eat Peter Rabbit and his friends? Seriously. They're always worried about being made into a pie. Is this PETA's way of subliminally implementing animal equality? I think so.

Max and Ruby. Am I the only who wonders where those rabbits (are they rabbits?) parents are?? Why is she always yelling at him? He's a baby, right? She's always like, Max, don't do that. Max, stop doing this. Poor Max. Parentless and stuck with a dictator as a sister.

I feel like there are so many other's I could pick apart, but I can't remember them all. We are currently watching some Dora movie for the twentieth time and I can feel my brain turning to mush as I type. But we do anything for our kids, right? Even if it means forfeiting a few (or a million) brain cells along the way.

What are your kids' favorite shows?

Hopefully it's not Yo Gabba Gabba...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Religion of Motherhood

A long time ago, when I first started this blog, I had this idea in my head of what it would be like. Aubrey was just born, maybe not even yet, and I wanted to write about inspirational things; things that would let women know that it's not all about the kids or the husbands or the housework. I wanted to talk about good foods and face products, and yeah, there would be some baby stuff in there, but I wanted to keep it pretty women-oriented.

I look back now, and I laugh. Because it is ALWAYS about the kids and the husbands and the housework.

Being a stay at home mom means being a mom 24/7. During the day, I'm needed and sometimes wanted, but mostly not. There isn't that time where I go away; where I think about other things and focus on other tasks. My day proceeds as follows:
  • Wake up (usually to Aubrey screaming, Get up Mommy!)
  • Get Aubrey up, change him, brush his teeth, make him breakfast, all the while I'm holding my pee and putting off brushing my own teeth and making my own breakfast.
  • Once he's strapped safely into his high chair, I'll do my morning routine; pee, brush teeth, wash face, change clothes, eat breakfast.
  • If it's Monday or Tuesday, I'll clean and do laundry while Aubrey watches TV *gasp* colors, fingerpaints- whatever. Wednesday is grocery shopping day, and Thursday and Friday are park/movies/something out of the house, days.
  • All of this happens before 1pm. 1:30-2 is nap time, if I get lucky, where I'll either read or write or send emails. If there's no nap time, then we go in the pool if it's nice or play games or do puzzles or anything, really, to keep him entertained.
  • After nap time, when Daddy's home (YAY!) we'll run some errands, lounge around, or play outside until dinner time.
  • Dinner time for Aubrey is 6:30ish. Dinner time for us? Whenever Aubrey is done eating and/or sleeping. I'll make his food and then feed him, and while Todd is putting him down (changing him, giving him his milk) I'll make our dinner.
  • By 8:30, Aubrey is asleep and we are eating and I can breathe.
And every day is the same. I always joke around that I never know what day it is, but I'm not kidding. I never know what day it is. To me, they're all the same. That may sound horrible to say, but it's so true. Granted, Aubrey is entertaining as hell and there's always something new to learn from him, but it's just him and me. The most human interaction I get on a normal day is from the cashier at Target. Unless, of course, my friends are off of work and grace me with their presence. ;)

I'm saying all of this to lead up to this...

I go out at least once a week, sometimes twice. Sometimes Todd comes, but mostly he doesn't. The baby goes to sleep and I leave and I don't come back before midnight. I go on trips, like the road trip to Tennessee or the weekend trip to the Keys. Sometimes Todd comes, but mostly he doesn't. I leave, but I always come back. Yet, people seem to have a problem with this. They seem to have this idea that a mom stays home; that a mom can't go out, that she can't drink, that she can't go on trips because god forbid she leave her child(ren) for a few days and nights.

But they forget: I don't work a 40 hour week. I don't leave him in daycare or with the nanny or the babysitter and come home at 6 and see him for a few hours. I wake up with him, I am with him every single second of every single day, and I am there when he goes to sleep. Twenty four seven.

Please don't take this as me saying that the working mother is wrong- she's not. I consider going back to work on a daily basis. But the circumstances I'm in have prevented me from doing this, and yeah, a part of me would rather stay home, too. I just wonder why there is so much judgment and intolerance between woman in the same position; mothers.

It doesn't make me any less of a mother, or a wife, or a person because I choose to spend my time away from my child differently than you do, just like it doesn't make the working mother any less of a mother to drop her child off at daycare.

I am lucky enough- no, blessed enough- to have a husband who encourages my girls nights and parents who watch Aubrey when the both of us need to get away. I know that some people don't have that or understand that. I know that my situation is abnormal. I get that.

But when it comes down to it; we're all mothers. We all sacrifice and give and love and live the same way. Instead of judging each other over our decisions- to breastfeed or not, to work or not, to babywear or not- we should be supporting each other, lending out advice but never pushing it down someone's throat. It's kinda like religion- there has to be tolerance, or else everyone loses.

I know that this sounds like a rant- it's not. I'm not concerned with clearing my name or explaining myself. If it comes off that way, I'm sorry. I'm just hoping that, in writing this and being honest about a subject most women don't want to touch, you can find yourself relating and understanding. There's nothing more satisfying (okay, almost nothing) then reading someone's thoughts and screaming, ME TOO!

I hope you're doing that now. And if not, that's okay too. We may all be mothers, but that doesn't mean we're all the same. Some of us believe in God, some of us believe in Allah or Buddah or Mother Earth or Science, but we all believe in LOVE.

There. That's my dose of inspiration for the year. Good deed- check.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Survival of the Fittest

I'm always learning new things about and with Aubrey, but last week I learned two specific things:

  1. His survival instincts have developed.
  2. He's fast. Like, don't blink, fast.

In the past few weeks, Aubrey's been hyper aware of his surroundings, mostly noises. If we're outside, and he hears a loud noise, he'll ask what it is.

*dump truck driving by*
Aubrey: What dat from Mommy?
Me: What's what from, baby?
Aubrey: Dat noise.
Me: That's a truck.
Aubrey: Ohhhh.

It's really funny, because he uses this weird voice whens he asks, and he always asks the same way. It's actually kind of frustrating, because we'll be outside, where there are a million noises, and he'll be like, "What dat from?" And I'll name a million different noises- a car, the wind, people talking, whatever- until he finally decides one of the answers satisfies him and he'll stop asking. (He doesn't do the whole Why? thing yet, but I'm thinking this is his version of it.)

Well, just in the last week, those noises that he was so curious about before have begun to scare him. Thunder, the dogs barking, garbage trucks...you name it. He clings to me with his iron-man toddler grip until I'm forced to pick him up to keep from tripping.

So the other day, he's in the middle of a nap- one of those good naps where he'll probably sleep for 3+ hours cause he was exhausted- and the lawn people decide to come. Well of course they weed wack or whatever it's called right outside his window, and I kid you not, Aubrey hauled ass out of that crib.

First of all, one second he was asleep (I was watching to see if the wacker would wake him) and the next second he was straddling the top of the crib.

Second of all, he's never climbed out of his crib before. I wasn't even aware he knew how to do it. I'm convinced he was still asleep when it happened, because he hasn't tried since.

So I'm sitting there with Todd, watching all of this happen, and I jump out of bed and practically dive into his room to save him from falling out of his crib. He's screaming, barely hanging on to the slats, and I'm lunging, trying to save his life, and I'm kind of laughing, too, cause his eyes are still closed and he's just frikkin bolting.

Survival instincts- check.

That had him all riled up for a good half hour, and now any time he hears a lawn mower/leaf blower/weed wacker/outdoor grooming equipment, he breaks out into hysterics. He's traumatized for life. I actually think he had a nightmare about it the other night, cause he woke up saying something about noises.

They grow out of this, right?

And yes, he still sleeps in a crib. He even still uses a noise machine. Say something about it.

I suppose it does make things pretty interesting when we're out. I'm forced to actually notice the different sounds surrounding me instead of just blocking it all out. You don't realize how much you do that until you have a child and you're made to see the world around you.

You get the chance to see the world through a child's eyes.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Silver Linings

I don't who it was, but someone once told me that Mom's don't get sick. Something about how God doesn't let us get sick, because then who would take care of the kids?

That's a bunch of baloney. 

Cause I'm a mom and I'm sick. As I type this, I am sitting in bed with a roll of toilet paper on one side of me and a box of Dayquil on the other.

Even though I feel like shit poop, I have enough sense to know that I am lucky, for many reasons. I shall present those reasons to you in a list format.

  1. I am NOT throwing up my guts, which is probably the worst punishment known to mankind. I'd rather birth a child. Yeah, I said it. (and I get some sort of sick satisfaction from the fact that men get to experience vomiting, too. Thank God for that!)
  2. I got sick on a weekend, which means I had my lovely husband home to take care of Aubrey the whoooole time! (maybe I should get sick more often...)
  3. Said husband also decided to use his precious vacation time to take today off. He is currently running the errands I would be running. Right now, at this very moment, he is at Whole Foods buying vitamins and organic milk for Aubrey. And then he's getting me a blueberry muffin from DD because I'm sick and the ONLY thing that will make me feel better is a blueberry muffin from DD. ;)

In all honesty, this weekend has made me ponder various things. The main thing being that I am so incredibly blessed to have a husband, much less one who is as patient and kind as Todd.

I'm not gunna lie, I take things for granted. I think everyone does, but it always takes something to help me realize just how great I have it. This weekend has been successful in that aspect.
There have been times in my life when I've questioned...everything. You know that whole, what if I had done this.. or what if this had happened...

I hope you don't judge me for admitting that. If you're one of those people who has never questioned the decisions you've made, than power to you. Really. Though I have never once regretted the choices I've made, I sometimes wonder what life would have been like if I had stayed at NSU, and if we had waited to get married like everyone told us to.

But then life slaps me across the face and tells me to shut-up because if I had done things differently, I wouldn't have what I have today. Aubrey and Todd are two things I would never, ever change or give up.

So even though I have a painfully crusty nose and I sound like a forty-three year old man, I'm thankful that I was reminded to see the silver-lining in this situation.

*****

And to all you single moms out there, high frikkin' five. I don't know how you do it. Because the truth is, mom's do get sick, and when you have no one there to help, you put on your superwoman panties and you get the job done. I hope you know that you make the rest of us look bad. 


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Terrible Twos

Have you ever had those days, or weeks, or even months when you feel like you've been going non-stop, twenty four seven, been all over the world, TWICE, only to look back and wonder, what have I been doing?

Yeah, the last couple of weeks have been like that for us.

There's been so much going on, but now that I'm sitting here trying to think of exactly what has been going on, I'm drawing a blank. But we've been busy, I swear.

On top of the overwhelming nothing we've been doing, Aubrey is going through this super awesome phase. I believe most of us moms call it the terrible twos.
I'm not gunna lie, before I was a mom, I thought the terrible twos was something that people made up. Like, how does your perfectly behaved one year old suddenly begin to defy you, overnight? I was convinced it was just an excuse for a usually poorly behaved child.

I'm so sorry that I ever doubted you, mothers of the world. I understand now. I really do.

Aubrey has been doing things like running away when I call him. In the middle of the store. I've had to abandon ship (shopping cart) more than once. He does this thing where, if I tell him not to touch something, he gets, like, a spaz-out moment and grabs everything in close proximity. And then proceeds to throw it on the ground. I can't even properly describe it, but it's not cute.

He's been hitting, biting, telling me to go away and be quiet. There have been temper tantrums galore. It's so frustrating because he was such a good kids post 25 months. I'm starting to think that aliens sneak into the house in the middle of the night and replace the two year olds around the world with clones. Maybe they keep our real kids for a few years to teach us something or something. Hell if I know. But there's gotta be an explanation.

Have you ever wanted to just throw your kid in the closet and leave them in there...for a few days...with food and water provided, of course. I hope I'm not the only one.
Don't call child services on me. I wouldn't really do it. 

And speaking of child services! I feel like I can't even discipline my child in public. The other day, in the clothing section of Target, Aubrey disappeared into one of the racks and I was calling him and he would laugh and run into a different rack, and I mean, I'm small and what not, but he was gettin' all down and deep in there, so I would catch a hand as he ran by and then lose it, and okay, I lost my patience, whatever, so when I finally got him...I spanked him.

It's not like it was hard or anything. It was an awkward angle, and you know the diaper makes it sound louder than it is. But of course the moment I decide to spank him is the exact moment someone walks by, and she gives me the dirtiest look. And I wanna be like, can I help you? But I'm not a very confrontational person so instead I kissed Aubrey's head and smiled like we were perfectly okay.

These days it's all about talking things out and discussing our feelings. My two year old does not care about my feelings, I can guarantee you that. Sometimes a good ol' spanking is needed. I mean, I was spanked as a kid, and I think I turned out okay, right?

Don't answer that.

Mom Rule #2567
If you're going to spank your child in public, make sure you are properly concealed.

All I know is that I can't wait for his third birthday. I'm thinking it'll be kind of like how morning sickness was for me- gone the exact day I entered the second trimester. Maybe his attitude will disappear on the night he turns three.

I can only hope.

Only two hundred and ninety days, but who's counting?


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Toddler Interpreter

A lot of my posts are about Aubrey, because, well, I spend most of my time with him. He's my full-time job. As I've mentioned several times, sometimes it's hard to switch from mom to wife, from toddler-appropriate to adult-appropriate.

And then sometimes, there's no need to switch.

Because a lot of the times, having a husband is like having a second toddler.

Not in the sense that I'm constantly having to be after him (even though that does happen more often than not) but more like the things he says. Especially after he's just woken up. These are seriously two conversations we've had just minutes after he has woken up, both in the past week.

Me: *after straightening my hair* Babe, does my hair look okay?
Todd: It's so shiny. It's like elf hair.
Me: Elf hair?
Todd: Yeah, like Lord of the Rings
Me: I have no idea what you're talking about
Todd: *falls back asleep*
Me: TODD!
Todd: Like Legalos. Except yours is red.
Me: *walks away*

He later explained to me that it was so shiny and straight that it reminded him of the elves' hair from LotR. Leave it to a guy to compare my hair to an epic fantasy. Then the other night, Todd had fallen asleep and I was still awake (cause I have insomnia) and he randomly woke up and looked over at me, typing away on my computer with my hair freshly washed and all over the place.

Todd: You look like a mermaid.
Me: A mermaid?
Todd: Yeah, that red one.
Me: You mean Ariel?
Todd: Yeah, that one. *falls back asleep*

I should become an interpreter for the UN, except my language specialities are groggy husbands and two year olds. They need one of those, right? You know, someone loses their kid in the mall and they're like, We can't understand what he's saying! Call the Toddler Interpreter! 

Yeah, I think it's legit. Who could I contact about that?

If only it were possible to get paid for the things we do everyday. Seriously though, being a mom should be a paying job. Maybe then more moms would stay home. The government could spare a few dollars for a fund that like that, couldn't they? Then Homemaker could be a real occupation. Instead of getting paid in priceless moments and wonderful memories I could get paid in actual money.

Not that I don't love those moments and memories. Cause I do, I swear.
But I mean, they don't really buy food...or diapers...or sippy cups or size 4t clothes or crayons or magic erasers...

Whatever. It's totally cool. I mean, it's not like it's a 24/7 job or anything..It's not like mom's don't get days off or breaks or late starts. Pshh. It's the easiest job in the world. Not in the least bit difficult, or tiring, or emotionally draining..

Just kidding.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Potty Olympics

Now that Aubrey has hit the two year mark, there's one phrase that keeps getting thrown around:

Potty Training.

It comes up in almost every conversation with other moms, understandably. Questions like, Is he potty trained? Have you started? When are you going to start?

And I'm over here like, we just moved up a size in diapers. Woohoo?

The fact that they call it "training" rubs me the wrong way, anyways. Can't we call it potty learning? Or maybe even potty attempting? Training just sounds so...strict. Like if he fails, than we're doomed. It's just a potty, people. Not the olympics. I've read these articles that give some tips and they're always the same:

Start off first thing in the morning, give him nothing but sweets and salty foods, pump him full of water, set that timer to every twenty minutes and plan to take a few days off of life to get it done. It's crunch time, baby!

So. Much. Pressure. I don't do well under pressure.

He just doesn't seem to have any interest, no matter what I tell him. I've offered treats, we bought him a frog-lookin' potty thingy and he looks at it and is like, "Froggy, ribbit ribbit!" but that's as far as his interest goes.

So this weekend, we're in Orlando, and we're in the bathroom changing out of our bathing suits and he looks at the potty and says, "Mommy, I go potty." And I'm like, "Sure, dude. Get on up there," thinking he's just gunna make me undress him and then redress him for no reason. But then he gets up there and sure enough, he pees! I'm freaking out (on the inside, of course) because I'm thinking, this is it. It's cake from here on out.

Well, it wasn't. Cake, I mean. Monday came rolling along and I was on top of him.

Me: Aubrey, wanna go potty? Let's go potty! (It's funny how you realize that talking to a toddler and talking to a dog sometimes sound exactly the same)
Aubrey: *thinking* No potty.
Me: Come on, it'll be fun! I'll give you some gummies!
Aubrey: NO POTTY! *runs away*

Yeah, it didn't happen quite like I imagined it to. I mean, I was expecting it to be easy. After all, I had a dog, and I had that thing potty trained in a few days, tops. Then I started thinking how much easier it would be if I could stick Aubrey in a crate, too. When I mentioned that to a few other moms, they didn't think it was so funny. It's not like I was serious or anything. It was an honest joke.

Mostly.

I don't want to push him, because I don't want him to fear the toilet, but at the same time, Dude is huge. He looks like a 4 year old in diapers and that ain't cute. I think I'll just have to let him run around naked for a day and see what happens.

After all, if a dog can figure it out, than I sure as hell hope Aubrey can, too.