the boys

the boys

Monday, December 31, 2012

Random New Year's Eve Thoughts

  • I just celebrated changing the last poopy diaper of 2012 (hopefully).  Is that sad that this is my biggest accomplishment tonight?
  • I had cookies for dinner
  • If you think that's bad, I had crescent rolls with chocolate chips for lunch.  For the 2nd time this week. We call them pain au chocolate (insert French accent here).  Don't judge me.  It's New Year's Eve.  Not sure why that is a valid excuse.
  • Found this quote in a book tonight.  Paraphrasing....Our (non-Christian) friends are sending us a message.  'Don't tell me.'  They don't want to see another television evangelist, they don't want o read another book or hear another CD about Christianity, and they don't want to hear your amazing story of conversion.  They want the real thing. They want to witness people living an authentic life supported by the authority of his/her actions.  Someone striving humbly but heroically to live by what is good, true, and noble in the midst of- and in spite of- the modern climate.  I'm gonna try to be the real thing this year!
  • Every time I turn on the guide on the TV and see the show Muffin Top I think "Yes, please" but then realize it's some sort of weight loss infomercial and I keep on scrolling.
  • I find Psy very annoying but somehow adding MC Hammer to his act got my attention. It's a generational thing I guess. 
  • Ok NOW I have changed the last poopy diaper of 2012.  Touche, William, touche!   
  • I like my job.  I felt good going back today.  I like being around such awesome people with the goal of helping families be safe.  Sounds corny, but I really do like it.  Call me crazy.  I feel like it's my calling.  I look forward to hiring new staff even when I am sad to see people leave.  It's like a new challenge to see if we can get a fresh employee to take on the overwhelming task at hand.  I should take a maternity leave every few years just to rejuvenate!
  • I wish people thought my double chin is as cute as Will's.
  • I may have done the MC Hammer shuffle across my living room floor on the way to the bathroom.  And I probably looked really good doing it. 
  • I miss my boys tonight.  They would have applauded my dance moves.  William just isn't there yet.  He's not my target audience. 
  • Well, now it's 10:49 pm so I might as well stay up and see the ball drop on the East Coast.  It's the least I can do (for who????)


Friday, December 28, 2012

Home vs. Work

To be a stay at home or not to be?  That is the age old question and one that I have heard about 500 times since Will was born.  "Are you going back to work?"  It seems that the answer is yes.  I had never planned to stay at home with my children.  I find that I am a better parent and better person in general when I can boss people around at work all day.  But the question does bear some assessment as I have enjoyed my time at home more this go around than with my first two kiddos.  I think I'm just generally more relaxed and in the groove this time.  Taking everything as it comes instead of trying to control it.  Third times the charm, I guess.

Whenever I am trying to make decisions, I pull out the ol' pro vs. con list.  So here we go.....

Home: Time for naps, although if I was home permanently with all 3 boys it would never happen.  Today I got two children to sleep at the same time and the 3rd one quietly playing a video game.  I slept for a total of 17 minutes.
Work:  Naps are reportedly frowned upon but I do have a lock on my office door.....note to self....schedule "conference call" each afternoon and put up the ol' "do not disturb" sign
Point goes to:  WORK

Home: More time to exercise and actually get back in shape.  I mean, I have exercised only one day so far but surely I would do more if I was here full time.  I'm just sure of it.  Really. It could happen.
Work: Working full time with 3 children gives me a nice excuse to avoid working out
Point goes to: HOME, only because I hang on to the off chance that I might actually get in shape

Home: Way more time to cook and plan meals.  Unfortunately it has resulted in a nice little muffin top.
Work:  Too busy to stop for lunch or dinner = pre-baby weight
Point goes to: WORK

Home:  Time (and I use the word "time" loosely because I haven't showered in about 36 hours) to be room mom for Justin's Kindergarten Winter Party which entails planning, gathering donations, organizing games, and delegating tasks to the other parents 
Work: Time to be room mom for Justin's Kindergarten Winter Party
Point goes to:  HOME.  Loved every minute of it 

Home: I have found my inner crafty self by way of my obsession with Pinterest 
Work:  Crafts cost $$$$ and really I'm not that good at it anyway. 
Point goes to: WORK

Home:  sweats, yoga pants, no make up, t-shirts.  Need I say more?
Work: pants with buttons (gasp), belts, heels, jewelry
Point goes to: HOME, hands down

Home: Daytime TV
Work: avoiding daytime TV
Point goes to:  WORK  I can only watch so many reruns of Wings and Sex and the City

Home:  Time to eat lunch with Justin at the Cafeteria
Work:  "forgetting" my lunch so I get to eat Roxanne's
Point goes to:  WORK

Home: Recliner
Work: state issued chair that's approximately 35 years old
Point goes to:  HOME

Home: Managing the freak outs of a 4, 5, and 33 year old (I can't really count Will's crying as freak outs.....yet)
Work: Managing the freak outs of grown women
Point goes to: Amazingly I'm going with WORK on this one.  At least I am not responsible for their general well-being and contributions to society based on my responses to their freak outs

Home:  Getting shit on (literally)
Work: Getting shit on (figuratively)
Point goes to: HOME because in theory that shit will come to an end one of these days

Home: Playing referee to a 4 and 5 year old (an occasionally the 33 year old WITH the 4 and 5 year old)
Work: Playing referee for adults (and I use that word loosely) with mental illness, substance abuse, and general patters of abusive and destructive behaviors
Point goes to:  HOME because I feel like I can make more of a difference in the way they manage themselves in tough times (fingers crossed), but oddly enough I do enjoy managing the conflicts of our clients. Something different every day.  I'm kinda sick in that way.

Home: No more daycare costs, but education responsibilities are on me.  Pretty sure they would only learn how to bake cookies, how Carrie cheated on Aidan with Mr. Big, and how to sing the Nanny's theme song....oh wait, they already know that one. 
Work: Paying a big ol' hunk of money each week for the safety, happiness, and well-being of my children
Point goes to: WORK.  Ellan and Heather just ROCK! 

Well, final score is Home: 6  Work: 7.  I should just stop here while work is still ahead since that is my plan anyway.  I would hate to convince myself otherwise.  So back to work it is.....Monday will be here so quickly.  I'm OK with it.  I really am.  I could use maybe another month or so at home, but I can suck it up and get back to business!   Look out, ladies.....I'm comin' back!!!! (Just in case you were worried)

But it's gonna be hard leaving these sweet faces

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Kitchen Table Confessions

My hometown church has a practice of having silent confessions.  During Mass the congregation is led by Father Bob in a meditation of confession.  Today was a Confession Sunday.  I was nervous only because I just couldn't imagine that my three boys could sit quietly through a group meditation. 

In the meditation we are asked to picture ourselves at our kitchen table sitting across from Jesus.  We are to speak freely and openly to him about our concerns, our sins, and whatever else is on our hearts.  It is a truly wonderful experience and I encourage each of you to do it in your own time. 

For many Catholics confession can be daunting.   Confessing your sins out loud to anyone takes guts even if it is a Priest you feel will protect your inner most thoughts and actions.  The Priest is the medium to a discussion with Jesus and the Kitchen Table Confession is a more direct, and likely more open and honest, way to confess our sins. 

I was pleased when all three of my boys were able to remain silent throughout the meditation.  I had attempted to educate them ahead of time of what was to occur and they really took an interest in it.  I also thoroughly enjoyed that immediately following the silent confession period both boys openly confessed that they did not keep their eyes closed the entire time.  Love their honesty!

While I won't go in to the details of my own confession for obvious reasons, I think it's safe to say that I, like most parents, had confessions related to my parenting.  Parenting is so hard.  So very, very hard.  Made harder right now just be the sheer lack of sleep due to having a newborn.  It's a reality that every new parent understands.  It is what it is, I always say!

So, for every time (and there are many....too many) that I feel my parenting is sub-par and for the times when I lose my cool and berate myself for not being grateful enough to still have my children to hold tightly in my arms and tell them I love them, I will instead try to come back to this blog and this time and this experience and remember that I am giving my children the best gift a parent can give: a lesson in prayer and a relationship with Jesus. 

I, like everyone, am so very heavyhearted about the tragedy in Connecticut this past week.  I have a kindergartner and I am better off emotionally if I don't try to put myself in a position of the parents who lost their children.  I am better off just to pray for them in every way possible and to raise my children to do the same. 

So tonight, I revisited the Kitchen Table Confession concept with the boys as a bedtime experience.  Justin's very first statement was "Mom, we can't forget to pray for those kids that died."  Oh, I know honey.   Oh, how I know! 

I asked them to pray their own prayers tonight and talk to Jesus in their hearts.  And of course they have little concept of doing anything quietly or silently in their heads so their "silent" discussion with Jesus at bedtime was spoken aloud. 

Justin's:  Jesus, help me not to kick my brother and not yell at my mom and to make better choices.  And please take care of the kids that were killed today.

Leo's:  Jesus, help me get Will's binky when he 'pits it out and not to yell at my brother when he poops and pees a lot. 

(I especially liked how each of them prayed about how to be a better brother to their younger sibling.)

I encourage you to have a Kitchen Table Discussion with Jesus tonight.  I believe the visual aspect of picturing ones self sitting at the table for the discussion gives extra support to the prayer experience.  For me, I am able to picture Jesus' peaceful and open expression as I confess my deepest thoughts and sins.  No judgement.  No worry that it will result in gossip about me or my loved ones.  No hurt feelings.  And most importantly, forgiveness.  Sweet and complete forgiveness. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Private Parts Not so Private

We all knew this was coming.  Or at least I did.  Two young boys at home plus pregnancy and the aftermath made the situation prime for awkward conversations.  I have been fortunate to avoid the "where do babies come from" discussion.  Sidestepped that one on several occasions with the simple response of "from God."  Thus far that has satisfied the boys. 

And then there's the one of "How does the baby come out."  Again, the most simple response of "the doctor took him out" has passed for acceptable for both boys.  However, Justin was very concerned about how much it would hurt me (sweet kid) and has repeatedly stated how happy he is that he is a "dude" so he doesn't have to ever have a doctor take a baby out of him.  No joke, dude! 

And....then there's breastfeeding.  I was unsure how it was going to work this go around with two boys who would be overly aware of what is going on.  When Leo was born Justin was not even 2 yet and hardly paid any attention.  Not so much this time.  They love to be right up in the mix.  For the most part they are unfazed with the fact that Will eats from my breast.  There were a few initial questions about it but that has pretty much ceased by this point.  I'm not a very modest person and while I try to not to display my everything to them every day I don't go hide in another room or cover up with a cape if I am nursing Will at home even if the boys are present.  Judge me if you want, but this works for me.  Actually the boys seem to find my nursing Will to be a very sweet time and they like to kiss his forehead and rub his hair when he eats.  I think it makes them feel like they are a part of the experience.  I continue to be amazed at how loving they are towards him without a single indication of jealousy yet.

BUT, I was caught off guard a little bit tonight.  Everyone was in bed sleeping (I thought).  I fed Will and then balanced him on my lap while I proceeded to pump.  I didn't bother to cover up because I (wrongly) assumed that everyone was asleep.  Oh nooooooo.  Here comes Justin.  Strolling down the stairs announcing that he might throw up.  GREAT.  In reality he is a male and just had a little cough that he had to dramatize into a potential vomiting episode.  Fortunately we were later able to resolve that issue with a cough drop.  But I'm getting off track here.

So there I am sitting in my recliner with the girls hanging out.....or rather pointing out into cones as the pump sucks the life, uh ummm, I mean the milk out of me.  It takes all hands to make this situation work.  I'm trying to balance a 2 week old on my lap while holding two bottles.  Mama ain't got another hand to find a way to cover up. But I tried.  I balanced one bottle with my chin, let go of Will for 3 seconds and grabbed the new nursing wrap that my friend had just made me.  Fortunately it was within arms reach.  I couldn't put it on but I could at least throw it over my chest for some privacy.

Too late.  I was exposed.  He saw.  And the questions began. 

What's that noise?  It's the pump.

What's the pump?  It helps get the milk.

For Will? Yes, for Will.

Oh, that's how you measure it?  Yeah, to measure it (because the only thing he has seen is the end result of measuring how many ounces I produced).

So, ummmm, Mom.  Those things are your privates, right?  Ummm, yeah, they are my privates.

So, Will eats out of your privates?  Ok, I guess you could say that.

Hmmmm.  If I called them boobs I would get in trouble, right?  Right.  We call them breasts.

Ok.  So I'll just call them privates and Will eats out of your privates.  Ok, let's get you a cough drop so you can just rest and go to bed.

That's enough for me, folks.  Good night! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I AM WOMAN (my roar is silent)

There is no doubt we've got some fun personalities in this family.  I am sure this is made clear if you have ever met us, read a Facebook post, or any of these blogs. 

For the most part I tend to like, or rather, be thoroughly entertained by the boys personalities.  They are a constant source of laughter for me and one of the main reasons I started this blog.  I love being able to capture their funny moments to read again later.  I cannot wait to see where Will's personality will land among all of the goofiness we have going on here.  Wondering if his timing will be as sharp as Justin's or if his expressions will be as adorable as Leo's.  Or something way different.  I can't wait to experience his personality!

Occasionally I am taken aback by a certain aspect of the boys personalities.  Something catches me off guard.  This was the case yesterday afternoon when Justin took us straight back to the 1950's. 

So the story goes like this:

Leo: I dropped my car behind the couch.

Me: You will have to wait until Dad gets home to move the couch and get it for you.

Justin:  No.  No.  I can get it for you.  Mom can't do it.  

Me: Justin, how are you going to get back there?

Justin: Ummmmm, because I'm a MAN!  Mens are just stronger, mom, and they can do more stuff than womens. 

Me:  Oh really? 

Justin:  Yeah, Men like challenges.  I am a man.  I will get it for him.  Don't worry about it mom.  (He went downstairs to get his light saber sword to use in retrieving the Hot Wheel.  After a few failed attempts at using the light saber to scoop it up....'cuz that's a genius manly move.... I suggested that he use it to kick the Hot Wheel all the way to the side of the couch where they can then just pick it up)

Justin: Well, womens have good ideas sometimes but men are still stronger and like more challenges.  Womens try to do the easies but men really like doing the hard challenges.  Boys really try to do stuff great.

Me:  Women do great things too.

Justin:  Well, yeah, sometimes they do.  But boys are just.....ummmm.....they are AWESOME!  They are better than women.  But that's bragging and we shouldn't really brag so I won't say that anymore.  It's just that women try to do the easies and men like challenges.  Don't worry about it mom.  I mean you have a baby to take care of so I'll just take care of this. 

And then he proceeded to use the light saber to move the car to the side of the couch, per my suggestion.  To which Leo gave him full credit for his success (no recognition for it being mom's idea). 

That's about right.  Typical male.  It's not that Jeremy has demonstrated any overly sexist behaviors for the boys, but apparently my being home every day in my new mommy mode while Jeremy has been scrambling around the house finalizing renovations has brought out the old-fashioned male/female roles in our home. And Justin, the ever observant 5 year old, has apparently picked up on what he must see as some gender inequities in our household. Or perhaps he is just a raging sexist. It's hard to say at this point.

I mean, I get it.  I'm spending more time than usual in my recliner with my feet up.  I move a little bit slower as my body recovers from giving birth.  I ask for a few more favors than usual.  I miiiiiight look a wee bit more disheveled than usual.  On the other hand their father is moving furniture from room to room with only the occasional grunt or grimace.  Big whoop.  Let's see him push a baby out of his body with no epidural and then follow it up with some rock hard boobs accompanied by some bleeding nipples while a tiny mouth sucks the life out of him.  All on about 3 hours of sleep.  How 'bout them apples, Justin?  Who's stronger now?  Who's up for THAT challenge?  Oh I BRAGGING too much for ya? 

Here's a nice womanly idea for ya, since that's all we are good for.  How about next time you kids lose a toy behind the couch you give me some credit for its retrieval.  Too much to ask?  Too big of a challenge for ya?  That's OK.  I am woman.  (My roar is just silent so as to seem effortless).   

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dear Baby O'Brien

Oh my goodness.  It's been about 4 months since I have written a blog post.  Time gets away from me and I've been a little busy growing a baby.  I started this blog a few months ago and never finished it.  Now that I am nearing my due date I feel the need to get it done before the baby arrives.

Dear Baby O'Brien (or BOB as Mimi calls you),

All of the baby books and baby magazines suggest writing a sweet little letter to my unborn child and tuck it away for you to read later (like age 4 when you are a genius child and can read earlier than all of your pressure).  Some moms write poems, others keep a journal.   As you will soon learn, that sort of crap really annoys me.  I'm not really the touchy feely kinda mom, or person for that matter.  Don't get me wrong, I love me a good snuggle and will love you unconditionally for as long as we both live, and then some.  But I'm not sappy.  Never have been.  Never will be.  Welcome to my world.  Your dad calls me the Ice Queen.  It's a fairly reasonable assessment.

So staying with the theme of being direct, here's just a few things I want to share:

- I wish you would stop tap dancing on my bladder.  But I love you anyway.  Oh lookie there.  Some sappiness snuck in. Must be the pregnancy hormones.  Anywho, I like tap dancing so I kind of see where you are coming from.  Oh but wait, you are head down (hopefully) so really you are head butting or punching my bladder.  Well, you will fit in just fine with your brothers then.  Your dad has taught them an lovely little affectionate name for head butting.  They call it Irish kisses. 

- Several times in your life you will hear people ask me if I wanted a girl since I already have two boys.  The answer is that I am perfectly happy to have a 3rd boy.  In fact I prefer it.  We are all set up for boys here and we already know what doing (in theory).  And honestly I'm not very girly.  If you were a girl I was under a lot of pressure from some of my friends to constantly put you in frilly clothes with bows on your head.  Thank goodness we dodged that bullet!  My only real issue with having another boy is that I am horrible at playing boy games.  I can't make a car motor sound to save my life.  And I have no idea what to do when playing army men or crashing cars into each other.  I find myself trying to play house with them and that doesn't go over well with your brothers.  But lucky for you you have two brothers and a father who will fill that roll just fine.

- I am so ready for your arrival.  Mostly so that Leo will stop calling me "Big Momma" every day.  (hopefully)  On the other hand I will miss his very sweet little way of asking me every day "How's the baby feeling today?  Is he punching you very much?"

- Actually I'm not ready for your arrival at all.  I did wash your clothes already so you will have the necessities of food and clothing.  You don't have a room or crib ready yet but honestly I don't think you will even notice.  And if you do, you can't talk yet so my guilt will be limited to some degree.  And that is really the most important thing in this equation. 

- You don't have a name yet.  We are getting closer.  You had one for a while, Owen Zachary, and it's still an option but I found I couldn't limit myself to it so now we have 4 names to choose from and probably won't decide until you are born.  That's probably the only other reason I wish that you were a girl.  We have a great girl name picked out and seems we will never get to use it.  Unless we decide to give you a playmate in a few years.  Then you are off the hook. 

- I hope you are born before Halloween because I got you  super cute little Halloween outfit to wear that day.  But I hope you are not born on Halloween Day. 

- You will like raw cookie dough.  And cookies.  It's a requirement for my children.  Don't disappoint me.  I might disown you. 

- I hope you can learn to appreciate hand-me-downs.  Because all gifts for your first few birthdays and Christmas are likely to just be things we already had for your brothers re-wrapped with your name on it. 

- I don't know what the hell you have done to my hair.  (Oh, and I cuss.)  In the early stages of my pregnancy you gave off some sort of vibe that made it oddly wavy in one spot.  I thought that was bad enough.  I was wrong.  Somehow you are now emitting some sort of hormone that has caused a greasy spot on the crown of my head.  No amount of washing or avoidance of hair products can reduce this spot.  I wake up in the morning looking like I stuck my finger in a light socket with greasy spikes of hair sticking up off my head.  It's as if while I sleep you are frying up some bacon in there and running it through my veins to my scalp. 

So that's just a few things you should know.  There are many more of course and sadly for you your learning experiences will likely be documented on this blog for current and future entertainment of myself and others.

I love you already and I can't wait to meet you!!!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012


I started this post a few weeks ago and today as I sit here and watch the National Championships I decided to make time to finish it. 

"Would you let your daughter do gymnastics?"  I've been asked that question a thousand times in my adult life and my answer is pretty much always the same.  My first answer is that I think every toddler should do gymnastics.  Male or female.  It teaches coordination, how to play, how to listen and follow directions.  There aren't very many other activities that I can think of to do with your 2-3 year old that are better than a Tiny Tot gymnastics class.

But that's not what people are really asking.  What they are really asking when they hear the level of gymnastics that I did is would you let your child train an incredible amount of hours every week of the year, possibly move away from home, miss out on all "normal" growing up activities, and put such stress on the body at a young age? 

My answer is yes.  But it's not a simple yes.  Parenting decisions never are.  But the answer isn't just that yes, I would let my daughter compete in elite gymnastics.  It's yes, I will support my children to the best of my ability in any sport or activity that they desire to partake in. 

Will I spend the time, money, effort, and emotions supporting my children?  Umm, yeah.  As long as it remains the right choice for our family, the answer is yes.  Is gymnastics different than when I was 15?  SO MUCH.  But everything evolves.  I suspect the 30 something year olds watching Nationals in the 90's felt the same way.  It's just about perspective, I think. 

What I won't do is try to relive my experience through theirs.  There is so much controversy these days about elite gymnastics. Or maybe there isn't anymore than there has been in the past.  Maybe it's just that now I am an adult and seeing it from a different perspective.  Or maybe it's that the media plays it up.  Or that we all have Facebook to discuss it until we are bored to tears.  It's likely a combination of all. 

I posted something similar to this on a friend's Facebook page a few weeks ago.  The original post was about the destructiveness of elite gymnastics and the controversy about putting kids through it.  My response is that there are some girls that have a rough go of it and come out very scarred.  There are many others that come out just fine.   I suspect we just don't hear from them as much because they are going about their adult lives and treating their time as a gymnast as something they once did.  Not who they are.  Or who they were.  Or who they had the potential to be.....if only......

I went through a tough gym.  It didn't always have the best reputation, but I'm certainly not scarred for the rest of my life because of it.  I have lots of great memories.  Learned a lot of really good life skills such as focus, hard work, dedication, concentration, seeing things through to the end.  And how to cuss.  I learned how to drop a good F bomb, too.  So maybe not all of it was appropriate, but I made it through.  And honestly, those skills (including the F-bomb) have really served me well in life.  I could choose to focus on any negative memories, but that is true of every life experience.  And there were plenty of tough times, but now I can look back on them and laugh a little and realized what I learned from them.  How I want to do it different in a current situation in my life.  When I want to raise my own white flag and take a break.  Or when I need to suck it up and keep on pushing.  I don't need to look back on those tough times and whine about what could have been or "if only" it to death.  I learned how to take responsibility for my actions.  Not to blame someone else (like my coach, or the process, or the equipment).  Even if it was after the fact.  Life lesson learned.

Don't get me wrong.  It wasn't all sunshine.  There were tough times.  Like the times where I wasn't working hard enough or not working up to my potential and I was yelled at by my coaches.   Oh and the incessant hours of training and conditioning to be stronger and more fit.  That's right.  Big fat shocker there.  A coach yelled at an athlete to work harder, smarter, faster, and more perfectly.   THAT never happens in other sports.  So maybe it doesn't happen to 12 year olds in other sports, but it's not as if we all got into the sport not knowing that the peak ages are pre-teen and teenage years.  We weren't being forced to compete at these levels.  We did it by choice.  We aren't like other countries where the athlete's families are dependent on their success.  Some girls had families whose egos depended on their success, but not their livelihood. 

So those that speak the loudest about their suffering have always gotten attention.  The media eats that shit up.  And then dramatizes it a little bit, or a lot of bit, and makes it seem like the norm.  And then writes a book about it and makes it into a made for TV movie.  Because those things are always accurate!  It gives this unfair perception that the whole sport and the current selection process is all wrong.  Horrible for the athletes and the sport itself.  I will say that I know very little about the current system, but I suspect there were some retired gymnasts/parents saying the same thing about our system when we were going through it.  It's just perspective.  Don't pretty much all sports utilize competition as well as practices and training camps to determine their starting line up?  Because they want to win?  I can vividly recall every college gymnastics team changing the line up meet to meet and at the last minute in order to put up the best gymnasts that the team needed that particular competition.  Some girls come out of college gymnastics with the same issues.  Some come out with a positive experience. Some don't.   Some come out with glowing memories.  Some come out with scars (mental, emotional, and physical).  Does it make it right or wrong?  A horrible process or just one that wasn't a right fit for that athlete?  It makes it life.  What's so different with elite gymnastics?  There's only so many spots available and the Olympics only come around once every 4 years.  So not everyone is gonna make it.  That's called life.  It fits right along with my irritation that every kid gets a trophy at the end of sporting events because we don't want to identify a winner.  Whatever.  It's called competition for a reason. 

So, will I let my child do gymnastics?  Sure.  As long as it continues to be the right choice for our child and our family.  The same way we make every other parenting decision.  As my mom has always said, "I did the best I could with what I knew at the time."  That's parenting.  That's sports.  That's life. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Vacuum Boy

Last night, out of nowhere, Leo started crying and whining that we "never vacuum!"  He's not necessarily wrong.  Vacuuming is not really my strong suit and for some reason this devastates my second born child.  So after several minutes of begging, he got side tracked.  I took the opportunity to make dinner and clean up the kitchen. 

But he could not be deterred.  As soon as dinner was over he was back to begging to vacuum.  We relented by having the boys clean their rooms so we could vacuum their rooms.  As soon as he finished he let out a huge wail.  "We NEVER mooooooooooop!"  What?????  Again, the kid is not wrong.  I have never mopped a single thing in this house.  That's daddy's job.  Judge me or be jealous.  Doesn't matter to me.  Daddy mops.  End of story. 

But daddy wasn't up for mopping at 8 pm on a Friday night.  We are a huge disappointment to our son, apparently.  I promised repeatedly that we will spend Saturday morning cleaning.  So it was no surprise that the first words out of Leo's mouth at 7:30 am were "Is it time to dust and vacuum?"  Soon, my son, soon. 

And then the cleaning started.  First it was the living room.  He is a big fan of feather dusting the actual furniture.  Whatevs.

Then it was on to Justin's room

(note, Justin just watching him)
Then it was on to the office/spare bedroom that is currently being renovated for the boys. 
He clearly loves how he looks while cleaning!  Now it's on to mom's room and cleaning the new dog bed.

Meanwhile, Justin plays Leo's Leapster while our dog licks himself.  nice!

Next up: the kitchen floor

Having finished most rooms inside the house, the next obvious place to dust is.....
around the front door! 

And don't forget the front windows!

And we can't let the birds eat out of a dirty bird feeder!!

And now, he needs to take the rug downstairs to the laundry room so he can get ready for vacuuming.  Life just can't get any better than this.

and now it's FINALLY time to vacuum!!

and the steps...

Thanks Justin for your support!

And the final step (of course) is to.....

dust the vacuum itself!

And now it's time for a little TV (with feather duster still in hand)

No, I did not think up any of this myself and YES he is for hire to good homes :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Get In My Belly!

Oh the joys of pregnancy.  Not that I'm complaining.  It's not as if this was an accident and I didn't know what I was getting myself into.  I went into this with my eyes, and apparently my mouth, wide open. 

I've been eating.  And eating, and eating, and eating, and eating.  For my first two pregnancies I was sick every once in a while and had lots of food aversions.  This time around I can't be stopped.  Food is my friend.  My best friend apparently.  And while my food intake has increased about tenfold, my exhaustion level went through the roof. 

Example #1:  5 weeks pregnant.  Anyone that has been pregnant or known a pregnant lady you know that our memories go kaput during pregnancy.  I was a total space cadet.  Made it through the morning routine with everything in place until I got to work and realized I didn't have any breakfast and also forgot my purse.  I had about zero gas left and no way to buy food or gas.  And this mama was HUNGRY!  I turned around, drove home on fumes (gas light turned on as I pulled in the driveway), grabbed my purse and went straight to the gas station.  But gas station food is nasty so I went to the nearest grocery store, parked in the expectant mother spot just to entertain myself (and it was closer to the food), and stocked up on enough food to last me until......well, until I got to work because I ate it all on the way there!

Example #2: 6 weeks pregnant I asked my in-laws to watch the boys on a Friday night because I could barely drag my tired butt home from work, let alone chase after my kids.  Had there been a comfy place to lay my head at work I highly suspect I would have avoided the drive home all together.  But drive home I did.  Cooking my own dinner was out of the question.  Price Chopper here I come.  It was a Friday during Lent and their catfish dinner was calling my name.  Hunger won out over exhaustion for a brief moment as I scurried around the grocery store throwing not one but TWO single-serving desserts in my cart along with my meal.  Molten chocolate cake and apple pie in case anyone cares to know.  More impulsivity: 2 trashy magazines.  Sadly, except not sad for my waistline, I fell asleep before I could eat either dessert or properly dive into the dramas of Hollywood.  This is followed by an eating binge the next day.  Breakfast at home.  Drive-thru Stake N Shake on the way to get the kids.  Thoughts of Houlihans even as I lick the cheese from my cheesy fries off my fingers.  Snacks at a bridal shower followed by yes.....Houlihans for dinner.  Thank you, honey, for giving in to my every need!

Example #3: While I was eating plenty and often, there were times when some foods sounded awful. Like the night that Justin tried to get me to eat a combo of grape and ketchup, which he loves for some strange reason.  When I politely declined, he continued to push me to eat it. We went back and forth until I explained that sometimes when mommy's have a baby in there belly their stomach kind of feels sick.  Leo pipes up with "Well, that's why we don't eat babies!"  Perfectly logical for him to think the baby got into my belly by eating it since that is the way everything else gets in our bellies.  We'll stick with that explanation until the 4th grade health class speech! 

Example #4:  9 weeks pregnant  I know I am visiting the grocery store with the boys too frequently when Justin says "Hey, when the baby comes there will be 5 of us in our family.  Where is the baby going to sit when we go to the grocery store?"  Apparently the store was our only outing for about 5 weeks straight.

Example #5: also 9 weeks pregnant  Easter Sunday.  I ate an entire meal of soup in a bread bowl from Panera BEFORE Easter lunch.  Seriously.  I can't make this stuff up.  My in-laws were kind enough not to judge.  When we got o the firehouse with Easter dinner I let everyone go through the line first in a weak attempt to put a reasonable amount of time between my meals.

Example #6:  10 weeks pregnant  My appetite is reaching its all time high.  I'm a big fan of home style food.  Enter: Roxanne's.  A super good little restaurant near my office.  In a span of 24 hours I ate there three times.  All with different people so as to not draw attention to my obsession.  Chicken fried chicken, mash potatoes, and a veggies.  Oh, and a huge doughy roll.  Mmmm-mmmmmmm.  Sadly, at my third visit the waiter asked "Haven't you already been here once today?"  He wasn't wrong.  Thankfully he didn't remember I had also been there the day before too!

Example #7:  all weeks.  Pizza  hut personal pan pizza with beef and ham.  'Nuf said.  (although if I'm being honest with myself this one isn't horribly unusual even in my non-prego days).

Example #8: 12 and 13 weeks pregnant.  Frequent flyer at Houlihans bar......because that's where I pick up my take out usual of stuffed chicken with golden mashed potatoes.  YUMMMMM!

Week 13: I made Jeremy promise me that when I start getting fat, not just pregnancy fat, but seriously chunky.  Just tell me straight up.  Don't be mean about it.  Just tell me.  I can handle it.  I'm a big girl.  No pun intended.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Announcement

I've been writing a blog for the last few weeks.  It's cute and funny.  Lots of little fun stories from the boys.  It's purpose was to make our big announcement, but today's events changed that.  I now feel this is the appropriate way to make our announcement:

That's right.  Leo's going to be a big brother. That's Leo.  Our 3 year old.  With blood all over his cute little "big brother" shirt that is a hand me down from when Justin wore it before Leo was born.  And yes, that's tissue stuffed up his nose.  And a sad, pathetic look on his face.  Just be happy that I cleaned all of the blood off his face and hands before taking the pic.  It was not a pretty site and I still haven't started cleaning the car seat.

After a fun-filled day of a trip to the zoo and a purse party at my friend Sarah's house, the boys were exhausted.   If you have ever been around children, then you know that exhaustion shows itself in two lovely ways: meltdowns or utter silliness.  Today we choose silliness.  For the last 10 minutes of the party they put on quite a display.  Running, uncontrollable giggling, throwing themselves on the floor (usually on top of each other with extra attempts to kick each other), and just general craziness. 

It was a real effort to get them corralled towards the door and into the car.  The silliness continued.  We were so far past nap time it was getting scary.  They begged for Bon Jovi CD.  I complied.  They were dancing and flinging themselves around in their car seats.  My hope was that they would literally dance themselves into a hard slumber.  They were so close when.....

Just one mile from Sarah's house blood starts spewing from Leo's nose.  I don't suppose it has anything to do with the fact that Justin kicked him in the face during their wrestling demonstration before we left Sarah's house. 

So it is literally all over the car.  This kid is a gusher!  And he had been flinging his head and body around to the music so by the time I stop the car on the first gravel driveway I can find and hop out to fling his door open, it's not only all over his shirt, face, hands, and car seat.  There are blood splatters as far away as Justin's car seat.  I worked hard to clean it all up but can't help but think that if someday my car is part of a crime scene investigation the police are going to come looking for DNA from my 3 year old.

Anyway, after at least 5 minutes of soaking every McDonald's napkin, tissue, and the 3 paper towels that we happen to have in the car from eating breakfast on the way to the zoo, I was able to get it slow down enough to try to clean him and the car up a little bit.  Then we packed his nose and took off for home.  Leo fell asleep within seconds.  Justin stayed awake the entire way home and frequently mentioned how Leo's bloody nose really "makes me feel like not being very silly anymore."

Anyone that thinks Baby #3 won't be a boy is just crazy.  This is what we are destined for! 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

What the HELL?

Last night, as with most nights, was interesting and entertaining in our household.  Jeremy was at work and the boys were really good overall.  Until I got on the phone.  I know we all know that there is something about a mother starting a phone conversation that makes the children swarm to her side with imminent  needs. 

The boys had previously been in my bed watching a movie before bedtime.  I gave them the whole "if you get out of bed and run around my room, you will be sent to your own rooms" threat that they get every weekend.  It worked the same way it works every weekend.  It didn't. 

I was on the phone with my sister and pausing every few minutes to politely encourage them (yeah, right!) to go to their own rooms since they didn't follow directions the first time.  And they follow directions so well.  Oh wait.  That's not what happened.  What happened was that they went on a total spaz out and started a pillow fight in the living room.  That's right.  Pretty much the exact opposite of what I asked them to do. 

Sadly, for them and for me, I had to end the phone call and be the bad guy (ie the parent).  This of course resulted in sniffling and sassing as I hauled their little butts up to bed 45 minutes after normal bedtime.  Cry me a river, kids.  It's not as if any of us didn't know this is exactly how the night would end. 

But it didn't end there.  It never does.  Not for Justin anyway.  Leo's whining was due to actual sleepiness.  He secretly wants to be forced to go to his bed because he will be sawing logs in about 2.3 seconds. 

Justin on the other hand is a night owl.  Stays up until 10 pm every single night.  So 45 minutes after the meltdowns I was finishing banking on the computer and watching my trashy TV when our first born saunters out of his room to "see what's up."  By this time I was so over the whole not going to bed issue from an hour ago. (I wonder why they don't take me seriously??)  I let him sit with me for a few minutes and chill out while I shut down the computer and then we headed to bed.  It's not uncommon that Justin gets to sleep with me when Jeremy is at the firehouse so he just made his way to my bed like he owns the place.  Fine with me, really.

Just as we snuggle in, turn off the lights, and start to drift off to sleep I heard him whisper

"What the HELL?" 

Ummm, I was like "what did you just say?"  He said "I said 'what the hell?'"

So of course I had to ask...fearing the answer...."Where did you hear that?"  (please don't say me, please don't say me,  please don't say me).

"From the new Spiderman movie."  (whew!)

"OK, well that is not a nice word.  It's like stupid or idiot, so we don't use it and tomorrow we will not be watching the new Spiderman CARTOON (mind you!) and we will look for a better Spiderman movie."

"Okie dokie mom." 

I went to bed thinking about that darn Easter Bunny who brought the foul languaged-Spiderman cartoon into our home!  If I ever get my hands on him....oh crap, I am the Easter Bunny.  Man, sometimes I really suck at this parenting thing! 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


All I can say is wow.  Tonight was interesting.  I have a 5 year old.  A very smart and articulate 5 year old.  This can be both good and bad.  Tonight it was both. 

The night was going well until the boys failed to follow through on their end of the deal to pick up the toy room in exchange for playing Mario Galaxy with Jeremy.  There was more playing than picking up and eventually the time expired.  Not enough time left in the night to start a video game.

Enter: tears and anger from our 5 year old.  Like the kind that occur immediately.  One minute happy.  The next minute tears.  The next minute it's silence.  And for Justin, that is worse.  He was playing us.  Baiting us for a response.  He was quietly kicking furniture and just generally trying to cause trouble to get our attention.  He was eventually sent to his room.  He went quietly.  A miracle in and of itself. 

I made the nights final offer to read one book apiece, but he declined.  When he's angry we have an agreement that I will sit and cuddle with him until the anger it gone.  He wasn't having it.  He sat in a tight little ball of anger on my lap.  All the while saying mean and nasty things trying to get a rise out of me.  "I don't even like you."  "You are not even my mom."  "I didn't even like my trip (to San Antonio last fall)."  On and on.  I just continued to come back with "well, I love you and you will always be my son, etc, etc"  Finally he stuck his tongue out at Jeremy.  It was the final straw. 

Off to bed he goes again.  After about 20 minutes I went to check on him.  True to his norm, he had rid himself of his favorite belongings by putting them outside his room and stripped his bed of his covers and pillows.  I again reiterated that I love him.  He said "You are junk.  Dad is junk.  God is junk.  Everyone is junk.  I wish I was the only person on Earth."  It wasn't stated with hate or a snarl. It wasn't yelled. Strong stuff for a 5 year old. 

I kept reminding him that he is now 5 years old which has been a big deal to him lately.  He takes great pride in his new age.  He is better at anything and everything "because I'm 5 now."  His only response tonight was that he is not 5 anymore as if he somehow desired to revert back to a younger child so he could throw his little tantrum.  In his mind he can't be 5 and act like this so I guess he couldn't be 5 right  now. 

I left him to his thoughts again reminding him that I loved him anyway. 

Then magic.  It's over.  He comes out of his room a little bit later to report that he IS 5 years old.  He's totally fine.  He picked up his stuff, made his bed, went potty, brushed his teeth, told Leo a bedtime story about a family of 4 where the oldest son got mad, thought about it, and then decided to be happy again. 

When I went to his room for bedtime prayers I was utterly amazed at what happened next.  We spent the next 20 minutes talking about God, Jesus, the creation of world, spirits, how to have God in your heart to help you remember to be good and on and on and on.  It started with the sign of the cross.  What did it mean?  So we reviewed what it means. 

It led into a whole discussion about the Holy Trinity and Jesus dying on the cross....very appropriate for Easter season!  He had question after question about it.  Why was Jesus a man?  How is he a spirit now?  What is the Holy Spirit?  What does Holy mean?  How did God create the whole Earth?   Did he create the other planets too?  Are there people living on other planets?  What about Aliens?  What about outer space?  He wants to go there someday and he "heard a guy talking on TV, like a President guy, but not Obama, but like another President guy, who said that everyone will go to outer space some day so when can I go?" 

My jaw just dropped.  Could he really  have watched some sort of Presidential Debate or news story about Newt's plan for future space travel and actually put that all together?  I still can't get over it. 

Every answer I had was followed by another thoughtful question.  This is literally the first time he has ever processed these things out and it was simply amazing to watch him learn it.  To already be delving into the Holy Trinity discussion was kind of overwhelming.  He finally exhausted his questions and said a few prayers about having God help him think about good choices.  We talked about listening to God in our hearts even when we are angry.  We finished up with the Guardian Angel prayer and the Our Father.

As I walked out of the room he said to me "Remember Mom.  Even when I'm being sassy and I say you aren't my mom and you are junk or I don't like you, I will always love you forever and you will always be my mom." 

Well, that's enough right there.  WOW!  What an evening.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Had A Dream

I had a dream.  And like most dreams, it was weird.  You know how dreams tend to mesh different areas of your life into totally awkward events.  Well, that's pretty much what happened here. 

I will also start by saying that I often have recurring dreams.  Like a ton of them.  It  probably means I'm slightly mental.  Big shocker there.  I dream I can fly.  I dream about gymnastics CONSTANTLY!  I have a scary dentist dream from my childhood.  Another one about someone robbing our grocery store when I was little.  Seriously, it's annoying. 

But anyway, one of my recurring dreams is that I have to start attending Gallatin High School in the middle of the school year and I have no idea what to do.  I don't know where my classes are.  I don't know what time lunch starts.  I can't find my locker.  On and on.  It's funny to me because had I graduated in my home town of Gallatin I would have made somewhere around the 30th student in our graduating class.  But instead I moved away from home to do gymnastics and attended Raytown High School where we had over 300 kids in our graduating class.  RHS vs. GHS.....and attending GHS is what makes me anxious enough to have recurring dreams?  Whatever.  Like I said, I'm one foot in the loony bin anyway.

Another thing that I should preface this dream with is that Jeremy is currently working for his Uncle Kent in a bike building assembly business for Wal-mart.  Therefore, he and Kent talk about 25 times a day.  Sometimes I think they are texting each other while talking to each other on the phone.  So basically Kent has emerged as an important person in our life these last few months and he is rewarded with a bit part in the dream.  I am sure he is pleased. 

Soooo....the dream:  It's morning in G-town.  First day of 12th grade.  Time for ol' Gwennie to catch the bus.  Well, lookie here.  Who is driving the bus?  It's Kent.  (I guess there were not any bikes to build that day).  He pulls up in front of 708 (my childhood home) and honks the horn for me to hurry up.....because that's what bus drivers did when I was young.  So I hop on the bus and guess who else is there?  Kent's wife, Debbie.  Apparently in dreamland she rides the bus as some sort of Bus Mother to keep the kids in line.
Dangit!  I forgot to bring Justin for his first day of Kindergarten!  (the anxiety of getting him signed up for Kindergarten is clearly weighing on me.)   I was completely stressed out that I am a horrible mother and he is missing his first day of Kindergarten.  So as we pulled into Covel D. Searcy Elementary school to drop off the elementary kids I shouted at Mrs. Houghton to ask when Kindergarten starts.  She checked for me and it didn't start until tomorrow.

Whew!!!  (Anxiety much?)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Fish Weren't Biting

Well, it's March 18th.  Mid-March in Missouri is usually quite cool.  An occasional snow storm, maybe some thunderstorms or God forbid tornadoes.  But we have experienced some unusually warm weather this March.  Several days in the 80's this week. 

Today we went to Mimi and Pappaw's house.  It was a nice afternoon to fish.  But the fish weren't biting.  So what better to do than start dipping our toes into the ice cold lake water!

and then a little more than our toes...a little splashing around!

And then what the heck.....why not just enjoy ourselves!

and if that isn't enough, why not just pour some water ON ourselves!

This continued on with all of the kids pouring ice cold water on themselves and each other.  Fortunately no one asked to start this years first cannonball contest.  Regardless, Mandi and I figured we better draw straws on who will stay home with 5 sick kids this week....but what the heck...they enjoyed it!! 


ps.  Ellie, we forbid you to get into the water until at least June! 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Back to Blogging

What better way to get back into blogging by than simply repeating the hilarious things I hear in my house every day.  Instead of trying to draw out my own creativity I will rely on the best two imaginations I know: Justin and Leo. 

I am loving having a 3 year old and soon to be 5 year old.  Most days.  Lately they have been even funnier than usual and I wish I had more time to blog all of their funny moments, but I do have a full time job that takes up a good bit of my time these days.

Leo is getting more animated by the minute.  Despite his tendency to be a teensy bit high strung, he is cracking us up on a daily basis.  His thoughts come in jumbled, hard to understand, erratic, squished together sentences.  For example tonight he ran up the stairs to give me the following burst of info "I need my monkey pajamas, can I have some bubble gum, can I watch a movie...." and a host of other questions/recommendations that I didn't quite catch.  

Leo is OBSESSED with his monkey pajamas.  He talks about them as soon as he comes in the door from daycare.  Last night he nearly lost his mind because we carried clean laundry up from downstairs and he thought it meant that they were not washed.  I mean, there was a serious meltdown brewing before I produced the beloved jammies.  Tonight he got them from his room as soon as he got home and set them by my recliner in anticipation of putting them on later.  After dinner he picked up his plate and promptly stripped to his skivvies in the living room prepared to change into his jammies.  As I type he is sitting on the stairs lamenting that he cannot put them on yet because we haven't had baths.  Because we are waiting on Justin to finish his dinner.  As usual.

So while Leo talks a mile a minute and slips into panic/freak out mode at the first sign of something not going his way, his older brother is playing it mellow these days.  Thoughtful, chillin', and forever funny.  Hilarious as usual.  Here is a rundown of his one-liners in the last two days:

"Leo keeps punking my funking out"  I have no idea what it means but it was in a context of Leo bugging him so I have to assume it means Leo is annoying him. 

"Gwen, sometimes I will call you Mom and stuff.  Because that's cool.  Sometimes.  It's how I roll."  I mean if that doesn't sound like his dad I don't know what does.

When I gave him a blank stare tonight when he was being silly, Justin looked straight at me and said "Sooo, no sense of humor tonight, huh?"  It's hard not to laugh at that!

"It's ok Saydie (the dog).  I know I stayed gone a long time yesterday.  I promise I won't just play a lot of puzzles today. (we stayed late at daycare last night while the boys worked on some puzzles)  I'll come home fast.  I know you miss me so much when I am gone.  Don't cry Saydie.  I come back every day.  I won't stay gone a long time.  I will always come home."  And while this was funny in itself, the best part is that while he was cooing and petting Saydie he was also watching himself in my full length mirror.  He rarely took his eyes off himself.  The vanity was overwhelming......also something he likely gets from his father :)

My favorite Leo quotes this week have been when I tried to get him to sound out his "s" for scrape and he decided he couldn't so he just said "ssssssss  boo boo." 

And then tonight he called me a crackerhead, which I am pretty sure seems like a racist comment but I'm going to give him a pass for right now and just see how his ability to appreciate cultural diversity pans out.  Fingers crossed I don't have a little bigot on my hands!

Here's Leo after bath...happy in his monkey jammies!  I don't know how I keep myself from constantly squeezing his cheeks!!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Funny, Dunny, and Their Friend Star Wars

These two lucky toys are Justin's new best friends.  He sleeps with them every night.  They are toys from Wacky Packs which in case you don't know is Sonic's version of the Happy Meal.  I'm sure Sonic really appreciates that comparison.

Anyway, Justin scored two of them because Leo didn't want his. I guess Leo's too good for a plastic toy that doesn't do anything.  But not Justin.  He's got that wonderful imagination that makes two mini Route 44's his new best friends.   He has slept with them for the past 4 nights.  And not just slept with them in his bed, but has totally spooned them as much as a four year old can spoon two 2-inch toys. 

Saturday morning I was woken up by Justin peering at me from the side of the bed while holding them in front of his face.  And he says,

"Mom, meet Funny and Dunny.  Dunny was cranky last night so he had to sleep in the toy (a batman vehicle) so he wouldn't keep me and Funny awake all night.  We needed our sleep."

"Say cheese, Funny and Dunny!"

Then later in the day he says to them, "Don't be sad, Funny and Dunny.  Are you sad because we are going to the Harlem Globetrotters?  Don't be sad.  We will be back.  They are just funny basketball guys.  Oh yes, sir, they are." 

Tonight, Funny and Dunny met Star Wars.  They have become good friends!

Leo told me that he wishes Funny and Dunny would "say underpants because that would be so funny!  But they can't say poop or pee or butt.  That would be bad and they would have to go to time out.  I have to go to time out if I say butt." 

Never a dull moment in the O'Brien household!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Calm Is My Middle Name

When I am experiencing difficulty in various aspects of my life, I think the best thing to do it is sit back and reflect on what I could be doing better.  I did that today.  I spent some good time reflecting and playing back different situations and how I handled them.  And what I decided is that none of it is my fault.  I am completely without fault.  So there! 

In an attempt, albeit a weak one, I will try to be be strength based about these challenges.  Each challenge has presented yet another opportunity for me to hone my skills. I am working hard at remaining calm, thinking on my feet, and modeling responsible reactions/responses.  I'm pretty good at thinking on my feet and talking my way into or out of things.  I've got the silver-tongued gift on most days.  Other days....not so much.  And on most occasions I am calm.  Calm is my middle name.  It's pretty hard to get me rattled (at least in front of people.)  I prefer to have my freak outs in private if at all possible.

I guess I can be thankful that the last 2 weeks have given me ample opportunities to practice being calm and thinking on my feet.  I've been fairly successful at it lately.  And boy, let me tell you there have been some situations where I could have slipped off the sanity track.   Some real doozies lately.  I would just love to shout the gosh awful truth right to people's face.  It would probably make me feel better.  No, it would DEFINITELY make me feel better, but that's not my role and it's not my style.  I don't get to be "that" person.  I get to be the responsible one.  The boss. The parent. The adult.  I signed up for these roles and I'm gonna stick with them however painful it might be.

If you don't believe me, I've got lots of examples.  Many of them can't be shared on this blog due to confidentiality, but I can give you a perfect example from today.  My boys had a meltdown while we were out running errands today.  I know this is a big shocker to those that follow the blog, but I didn't do anything wrong this time.  I fed them before we left.  Everyone had been potty.  Everyone slept through the night.  Everyone was their sunshiny selves when we left.  Maybe it's just shopping in general.  It's not my favorite thing to do either, despite what my husband believes, but I don't always have a choice. 

I'll cut to the chase.  Both boys through a little fit at JC Penney's.  The sass was flying around.  We got into the car and I announced calmly that plans had changed.  We were no longer going to our next destination.  New plan:  HOME.  Well, this didn't sit well with Justin who proceeded to sass and kick the back of the passenger seat.  So I followed my little plan.

I remained calm.  I calmly reminded Justin that the last time he behaved this way in the car on Christmas night he ended up losing his Leapster for one week.  (I wasn't so calm Christmas night and things didn't go well. If I expected calm, I better be calm!) 

Then I pulled out the biggest trick I had available to me in my parenting bag.  I told Justin that if he didn't choose to start being calm and nice soon that I would call a babysitter to stay with him while the rest of us went to the Harlem Globetrotters tonight.  That was quick thinking for sure!  It was a risky move on my part.  I'm a big proponent of only threatening actions that I can follow through on.  This one was a gamble.  But we did have about 6 hours to rectify the situation and at least 2 of those should involve a nap.  I was willing to gamble.

He continued his ranting and sassing.  So I calmly grabbed the cell phone and made a fake call to the babysitter. I had me a nice little fake chat with the babysitter and explained our little predicament.  I told fake babysitter that I was so sad Justin wouldn't be able to go with us because he was so excited about the Globetrotters.  I also told her that I would be happy to call her back if he decided to start being nice between now and the time we left.

It was immediately calm and quite in the backseat.  A mere 5 minutes later I got a super nice and sincere apology.  I, of course, then picked up the phone and make my little fake call back to the babysitter and excused her from her fake duties tonight.  I even threw in a little "We'll call you again sometime when the boys are being nice so you can come over on a night they are being happy." 

And don't think I won't be bringing this up tonight.  I'll be all "Hey, aren't you glad you decided to be good so you didn't have to miss this?"  Oh yeah, I can play it out until the cows come home!  I wish I could say every challenge these last two weeks has ended this successfully.  But alas, they have not.  I will keep giving it my best shot.  And so speaking of the cows coming home, this cow is going to go bake some chocolate chip cookies.  Four of them.  So there.  All's well that ends well.  (except my waistline is not appreciating the added stress lately!)

btw, do they sell alcohol at the Sprint Center during a childrens event?  Mama might need a cocktail to make it through tonight!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Them v. Me

You know what my problem is right now?  It's that my four year old insists that I NOT discipline my 3 year old. I realize this problem is small potatoes compared to so many people with real problems.  I'm not so silly and self absorbed to think it's an actual problem.  In fact the more I think about it, it's really more entertaining than a problem and I hope you are entertained by it too.

Justin stands in complete defense of Leo every day.  I guess that's what big brothers do.  If I so much as say boo to Leo, Justin is right there telling me how I should let up on him so that Leo won't cry or his feelings won't be hurt or he can still have his prize, etc. 

Tonight, as with so many nights, those discussions center around dinnertime.  Ahhhhh, dinnertime.  The thorn in my side in more ways than one.  Leo's constant "I don't like that" mantra is to be expected these days.  He didn't fail me tonight.  To set up the story I have to go back to last night.  If the boys finished their dinner they got the ultimate reward: a blueberry muffin for dessert.  I know you are jealous. 

Leo ate pretty good but he got too distracted and didn't finish within the allotted dinner time (which is a requirement lest it go on for 3 hours).  And of course, Leo was sad and disappointed that he didn't finish his food.  Such are the lessons in life.  Also a lesson in life: sit quite while letting your big brother fight your battles. And that's what Justin did tonight.

Leo didn't want what we were serving.  Big fat shocker there.  I simply reminded him that he will have to eat all of it before he will get a blueberry muffin.  To which Justin replies:

"Mom, you are making me very angry!  Just let him eat whatever he wants so he won't cry.  Just give him a muffin so he'll be happy.  I don't like it when you make him cry."

So I respond with my obligatory "I'm the mom....I make the rules for the house....everyone has to follow them, etc, etc." And Justin's reply is "I'm getting so angry about this.  I'm going to knock out a tooth I'm so angry.  I can't even stand it when you make Leo cry!!!"

Incidentally, Leo is backing ME up with this and reminding Justin that "mommy is in charge and she is the BOSS."  I'm no fool.  This is just the beginning of the them vs. me mentality.  I'm getting a good grip to hold on for the ride!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Thoughts Of The Day

I am sort of out of the blog mode so in order to kick start my thoughts I decided to just make a running list of thoughts/events today to see if they produced blog ideas.  What I found is that they are kind of a blog in and of themselves. 

  1. Laundry sucks. 
  2. The junk drawer is overwhelming so I cleaned it out and spread the junk throughout out the house so it is all in its proper junky places.
  3. The biggest tragedy of the day is that Justin's pink princess ring from Brooklyn's birthday party in July of last year broke. The "jewel" came unglued.  And so did Justin.
  4. The card game War is extremely boring and I thank my dad for playing with us for hours on end.  Yes, it teaches number skills, blah, blah, blah but it's BORING!!
  5. I have had a headache for 3 days and am grinding my teeth at night.  I have some sort of hidden stress that I'm not allowing myself to address.  That should be fun when it decides to surface in a few days and I do the big 1, 2, 3 FREAK OUT!  Better hope it doesn't come on you.
  6. I am consistently amazed at the amount of food Justin can put away in a day.  Cannot keep him satisfied and I am acutely aware that this is only the beginning.
  7. I have been cracked out on jelly beans since last week.  I tried to stop and quit them for two days this week.  Started up again yesterday.  It's so bad I'm even eating the black ones to make them last longer.  I would venture a guess that the sugar rush is one of the reasons for my consistent headache but I can't stop.  Not yet.  Maybe next week. 
  8. I watched Far and Away this morning off and on.  I miss the old Tom Cruise or at least the Tom Cruise he pretended to be or thought he was back then.  I also think there's a good chance I would not have survived that time period.  I prefer looking for a house with a realtor, not a horse and a flag.  Plus, I don't think they had jelly beans back then. 
  9. Justin told me today that when I "grow a baby" we are going to name it Juliet (from Gnomeo and Juliet) and that it "better be a girl" because he really likes that name.  He is the 3rd person this week to insinuate, or downright ask, if I am  preggo.  Must be all of the jelly beans I am eating.  And for the record, I am not!
  10. I am not yet comfortable with the level of testosterone in my home.  Moments after promising each other to be nice and quit hitting/punching/pulling shirts, etc they turned their efforts towards their poor defenseless stuffed animals.  I have an awesome video that goes with this but it refuses to post tonight.  Such is life.  Maybe I can get it posted to Facebook.
Ten's a good round number.  I think I'll stop there.  Good night!