The swell of spring and new life awaits

Florida spring is beautiful. Crisp mornings give way to hot days signaling summer’s swift descent. But as we await the sweltering days, I’m struck by the new life springing up around us. Even in Florida, when nothing goes dormant, spring brings a pleasant crop of welcome change.

Spring also means that swimming season is upon us.

Speaking of new life, my cousin Summer brought home her two sons from Ethiopia just five months ago and in a few short weeks she will welcome a daughter into the world. The ladies of the family gathered together to celebrate this much prayed for baby girl last week.


May your weekend be filled with sunshine, flowers and the welcome relief of a warm breeze.

On missing it

“We sat on the bed and cried,” she said as the rest of us listened quietly. “And my husband looked at me and reminded me that that part of our lives is over.”

My neighbor is preparing to drop her second child off at college in a couple of months and she and her husband will be empty nesters and it struck me as I listened.

This part of my life will end.

Some days it doesn’t seem that way. Life seems to drag forward at a snail’s pace and I feel like bedtime will never come. But before I know it, they’re tucked in and sleeping soundly and one more day has flown by, the dark quiet a reminder that this part of life has an end. The raucous noise and unsquelchable energy, the snuggles and hugs and kisses – they all have a stopping point.

And then…

I’m going to miss it. Like really, really miss it. Heck, I already miss it and it’s not even over yet. There’s a chance that could have something to do with the effects of the hefty dose of Nyquil I just took, but it’s hard to be sure. The fact is, I am going to miss this time in our lives so very much.

It’s not really fair that the first few years of child rearing are done in the fog of sleepless nights because it’s so much harder to remember when you’re a zombie. Just ask any zombie you know and they’ll tell you the same thing – you memory is the first thing to go when you enter zombiedom. You have to check it at the door and you don’t really regain it until your baby hits about 3 and you are afforded consistent sleep on a nightly basis.

And then suddenly your baby is four and you realize that you can’t really remember him like this anymore:

And you think, “How did I get here?”

It’s not like I didn’t know life flew by and I would miss these young moments. I have moments like this all the time, though, where it really strikes me – this time is short. I’m so glad I’m enjoying it.

Not every moment of every day, of course. That’s impossible. I don’t enjoy the constant bickering and having to repeat myself 152,641 times a day and the dirty feet on the couch and the crying over Lord knows what…I don’t enjoy those things. And I don’t think I’ll miss those things.

But I will miss this time, those minor annoyances included. I wish it didn’t fly by so quickly. I wish I didn’t love bedtime so deeply. I wish I could bottle up their laughs for ever and ever so I could listen drink in their innocence from now until eternity.

I really am going to miss this.

There’s also a chance, however, that if I don’t go to bed immediately I’m going to regret this little moment of nostalgia altogether. I need to sleep so that tomorrow I won’t be longing for bedtime the second my feet hit the floor. Sometimes the missing is entirely my fault.

So what about you? What are you going to miss? Or, if you’re already past the child-rearing years, what do you miss the most? What should we younger Mom’s be trying to hold on to as long as we can?

You give me fever

In eighth grade, three of my cousins came to live with us for a year. My cousin, Meagan, and I had always had a pretty unique, sisterly kind of bond even before she came to stay, so having her there for a year was like having a real sister for a time. We laughed, we fought, she took my clothes…

One thing Meagan and I always conspired to do together was try to get sick at the same time. If either one of us started to feel bad, we would drink out of the same cup, chew each other’s gum (I know, gross), cough in each other’s face in an attempt to both end up sick at the same time so we could stay home from school together.

It worked more times than it didn’t.

This is the part where you start to pity my mom.

One of the times we did this compeltely backfired when we both ended up with the nastiest case of strep throat imaginable. We were not enjoying our time off together. In fact, we kind of thought we were dying together.

We ran such high fevers that my mom had a mild freak out and we all trekked to the doctor, Meagan and I moaning the entire way there. Her fever was in the high 105′s, mine was in the 104′s. And we had done this to one another.

So maybe it’s a bit of cosmic payback that I have children who run fevers that settle in the rafters. I dunno, but last night as I cradled my daughter’s feverish body, her temp measured 105.5. Cue freaking out. Cold bath, cool rag on the forehead, medicine. All of it worked together to bring her fever down to…

103.5.

Not good enough. More medicine, another cold rag and a bit of prayer seemed to help. I laid down with her in bed, her little body all shaky and achy. “Mom,” she croaked. “I had a scary dream.”

“What was your dream?”

“I dreamed that I was dying.”

Cue double freak out. Poor, sweet baby girl.

We prayed and she quickly fell asleep. When I checked on her about an hour and a half later, the fever had broken. Of course she woke up at 3:00 hot again. She snuggled up next to me in bed and it felt like spooning a radiator. She talked in her sleep and I held her hot little hand. Together we weathered a long, fitful night.

This morning her fever is low and her eyes less glassy.

And this Mama, though exhausted, is quite relieved.

I also feel the need to apologize to my mom for giving her multiple heart attacks over the years when I spiked high fevers. So I guess this is where some of the grey hair comes from?

Anybody else have kids who like to run super high fevers?

I haven’t read Hunger Games. *Gasp!*

Once again I’ve rocked your world with a title that screams creativity, yo.

So I haven’t read the Hunger Games trilogy yet. And to answer your obvious question, I don’t really know why. It’s a combination of reasons, really.

  • I’m busy.
  • I’m not interested.
  • I have a million and four other pressing matters that need my attention.
  • I have four unfinished books sitting by my bed and I can hear them weep at night because I’m not reading them.

You know…stuff like that.

To be honest, I’ve never understood the whole read the book, see the movies craze. I find it baffling. I loved the Twilight series, but haven’t seen a single one of the movies (though I did watch part of the first one on TV the other night…meh). I think Harry Potter is hands down the best series of books I have ever read, but I haven’t seen the last three or four movies.

Because the books are so amazing.

Seriously. There are very few films that have really done a great book justice. I hear the Hunger Games movie did a pretty good job, but most people agree, the book is better.

I’m the type of person that really loses herself in a book. I get immersed in the story so deeply that pulling myself back to reality can sometimes feel like a chore. When the story ends and I close the book, if it’s been a good book, sometimes I’ll sit and let myself wander through the world I just read about. I become a part of it. If a book is good enough, I will often feel a sense of loss when the story ends.

I felt that way for a week after I finished reading Harry Potter.

I don’t feel the same way about movies. They don’t incite my imagination the way a real, live book does. I need to feel the weight of the story in my hands. I need the fatigue of a late night reading to push my imagination just a step further. I need to read every word – every detail – to understand and appreciate the characters.

Movies are good, yes. But books are better.

I am trying to teach my kids that lesson. If there is a movie version of a particular book, I’m trying to read them the book first. We are currently reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, then I plan on showing them the movie. Sometimes, of course, this backfires. We read Dr. Doolittle earlier this year, then I showed them the Dr. Doolittle movie.

It sucked.

Movies can ruin books sometimes, too.

Another reason I’ve hesitated to read the Hunger Games is I’ve heard through the grapevine Twitter that it’s just a really poorly written book. One woman even posted a picture of a paragraph on page three of the first book and urged everyone to grab their red pens and have fun.

It was pretty bad.

I’m not a book snob by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t proclaim to be the goddess of grammar. Obviously. I’m pretty sure every single one of my blog posts boasts a glaring grammatical error. But I measure books by entirely different standards. I like to think that gives me a little depth as a person, you know?

No? Not really?

Whatever. Young adult fiction or not, a book still needs basic sentence structure. I trust that the story and plot of Hunger Games are so good that I could eventually overlook the poor writing, but I don’t know. It makes me a little nervous so I am avoiding altogether.

The issue of time is the biggest reason I’ve shied away from the trilogy, though. I can’t afford to not sleep over the next few weeks so I’m sticking to light, brainless nighttime reading – like PEOPLE magazine. Now there’s some reading to be proud of, folks.

So what about you? Have you read the Hunger Games books? Did you love them? Did you go to the movies this weekend dressed as a child warrior? It’s okay if you did – I won’t judge…much.

*wink, wink*

Image credit

Friday Fotos

Are you all not completely blown away by my stellar titles this week? Pure genius.

A few photos fotos for you this Friday morning. These were all taken by our friend Sarah who, along with her friend Kristiana, spent the week loving on our family. Awesome? I think so.

Check out those tiny little muscles. My four year old is ripped.

Sweet girls

We have watched this sweet girl grow up and love her so much.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Just a few things

Nutella = The nectar of the gods.

I can’t seem to remember what day of the week it is. This has been a crazy, awesome, exhausting, amazing week full of friends, family and very little sleep.

I want to write something super funny that will keep you laughing. But I don’t feel funny right now. I’m happy, content, filled with joy but not feeling overly humorous. I am feeling sore, though, thanks in part to the FOUR vaccinations I received yesterday sandwiched in between two really tough workouts.

Why do I do these things to myself?

I don’t know.

I’d say it makes for good blog fodder but clearly it doesn’t. I did write an entire post on getting my shots but decided in the end that it wasn’t funny enough to post since I didn’t actually faint when I got them. I just sucked on a Dum Dum and laughed inappropriately to compensate for my terror of needles.

Today Thor gave me a free evaluation and training session at the gym. It was a sign on perk. He measured my body fat (like that’s not at all intrusive) and asked me about my sleep and eating habits.

I *might* have lied a little. But that’s just between you and me, m’kay?

I did make the mistake of telling him that my biggest struggle in working out is not pushing myself hard enough. He exercised vigilante justice on my laziness and was all, “I’m doing this to show you what you’re capable of.” So I kicked him in the shins.

No I didn’t.

That would have made for a cool blog post.

Between the shots and the evil overlord’s (yes, I know I just called him Thor but I like to mix metaphors every once in awhile to keep you on your toes) torture session I can’t lift my left arm above my waist. I do have a rather large bump at the top of my arm, though, which looks kinda cool from a certain angle.

From other angles it just looks weird.

I need to take my typhoid medication tonight. I didn’t know what typhoid was until I googled it. All I could think of was Little House on the Prairie and images of being packed in ice came to mind. I’d rather not get typhoid. It sounds awful.

Our friend Sarah is visiting this week on Spring Break with one of her friends. The nicest two college girls I have ever known in all my existence are staying in my home, playing with my children and making me feel young again. I can’t tell you how much it warms my heart to have them here.

The twelve pound jar of Nutella is back. I did NOT tell evil overlord Thor about the Nutella. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. It might kill me, but Thor and his oversize muscles will be safe and I will die happy so mum’s the word. We actually dropped the can the night after we got it and it was so heavy that a hole puntured right in the side. Our first reaction? SAVE THE NUTELLA!

Don’t worry, no Nutella was lost and the jar now sports a rather radical looking bandage in the form of painter’s tape.

I’m thinking I need to start cooking with Nutella. Maybe then I’ll finally have something to Pin on Pinterest.

I haven’t logged onto Pinterest in over a month. Commence with cyber-stoning NOW.

Tomorrow we have to take the kids to the Post Office to have their Passports renewed. We’re trying to decide which one of them we like the most so we don’t dip into that child’s college fund to pay for it. It’s a toss up on which one we’ll choose.

I’m just kidding. We don’t play favorites.

Most days, anyway.

Have I mentioned that this has been an extra fabulous week?

Too bad it hasn’t produced stellar blog posts, eh?

*sigh*

Tell me about your week. What’s made YOU laugh? Do you want to compensate for my lack of funny by sharing something extra humorous? Anybody? Anybody?

Bueller?

The one where I join a gym

I joined a gym last Friday – hence the ultra-creative title of this here blog post. It was time. I held off joining a gym for eight months because I wanted to see if I could do it. I wanted to see if I could save money and be disciplined and work out on my own at home.

Turns out I’m a total wimp when it comes to exercise. While my husband morphs into He-Man before my very eyes with nothing but a few barbells and shear determination, I have turned into a cream puff. Not cool.

Friday night was my first workout and it was…interesting. I chalked it up to being Friday evening, but I felt a bit like I’d stepped into a meat locker. I’m used to working out with all the other smokin’ hot minivan moms. Gym time is social time. We laugh, we chat, we sweat off all our stress. Sure there are a few bumpy muscle men milling about, but mostly we rule the proverbial roost.

But I was in the minority Friday night. It was mostly men in muscle shirts grunting and gabbing while us few moms walked among their smelliness trying to look as interested in the weights as they were.

So last night I went back, assuming that there would be a little less testosterone and a little more estrogen to help me in my journey toward total fitness AWESOME. (Incidentally, my friend Melissa has labeled her spring fitness craze “Operation Badass,” which I just think is the greatest title evah.)

Tonight was worse! I kept wondering where all of the other minivan moms were. And then I noticed a packed Zumba class and realized, “Aaahhh…there they are. They all know better.”

Clearly I’m a newbie.

So I powered through my workout and as I did, I made a few observations about the male species – particularly those who fall under the category of “worker outers.”

There are six types of men who frequent a fitness facility. Most men are going to fall into one of these six categories if they work out on a regular basis. This is a clearly comprehensive list based solely on scientific research. *eye roll*

The Grunters:

The Grunters are a particular group of fitness buffs who enjoy weight training for the ultimate benefit it brings to their overall health. While the Grunter may be pleased with his appearance as he curls his 50 pound dumbells, he is more than likely just happy to work out as a general way of life. Working out makes him feel healthy and confident.

The Grunter lifts heavy weights and emits low grunting sounds with each repetition, though he tries to keep himself under control. Minivan moms can appreciate his dedication and his willingness to not give in to the obnoxious.

The Groaners:

The Groaners are one step above the Grunters. They, too, love the physical benefits of working out, but they take more pride in their appearance. They watch their muscles contract intently with each curl and they make it a point to let everyone around them know they are are lifting seriously heavy weight.

The Groaner is known to drop his weights when he’s finished lifting for dramatic effect. The heavier the weight, the more the floor shakes, the more awesome he must be.

The Growlers:

The Growler dives across the line of annoying and lands squarely in the obnoxious. Growlers emit long, low sounds that sound an awful lot like child birth, thus leading minivan moms to cringe and make a hasty escape. A Growler typically sports a tatoo of a flame or something equally as radical on his calf or chest and he likes to stand up and applaud for himself when a particularly grueling work out is complete.

The Growler is often found flexing his muscles in the mirror at the end of a long work out.

The Musketeers:

The Musketeers travel in packs of two or three. They like to cheer each other on and shout things like, “C’Mon, Bro, you got this!” and “One more, Dude. Just one more. C’Mon, I know you got one more in ya!” Sometimes they even smack each other on the butt in celebration of a job well done. Musketters are particularly fun to listen to, as they have lively stories to share in between sets. I enjoy Musketeers.

The Hover-ers:

I do not enjoy the Hover-er. This is the bulgy men who stands over you as you use the chest press machine. When you stop to rest between sets, he takes a few steps closer and leans in. “You done with this machine?” he asks and when you shake your head no the Hover-er will step back and cross his arms, clearly annoyed with your lack of done-ness. You will have no choice but to relinquish your machine to him…despite the fact that you’re surrounded by five other machines that work the same muscle group.

Hover-ers are probably the same people who ride your tail on the highway if you’re not going a minimum of 15 miles over the speed limit.

The Guppies:

The Guppie comes to the gym in his work clothes, his tie slightly loosened. He walks in with cell pressed to ear and a fancy gym bag slung over his shoulder. The Guppie will come out a few minutes later in a nicely pressed, coordinated work out outfit. His shoes are brightly colored and his hair is neatly coiffed. He still has his phone and will shoot off clearly important texts in between sets. When using the free weights, The Guppie will frequently stare at himself in the mirror. He’s known to fix his hair throughout his work out.

So what do you think – Maybe it’s time I looked into Zumba, eh?

Image Credit

It’s Like Butah…

Alternately titled: Sam’s Club Fail

Have you ever taken three children to Sam’s Club? Let me give you a break down of what happens.

Inevitably you will forget your card and will have to visit the customer desk where you will have to wait in line with everyone else who forgot or lost their cards. By the time you get to the desk, your children (who have already been on two other errands before this one) will be restless and annoyed. They will push each other and argue.

The older gentleman in front of you wil tsk at their antics and shake his head. This will make you want to encourage them to fight more out of spite. You will refrain and will ask them to please settle down.

When you finally have your temporary card in hand you will grab a massive cart and head down the aisles. You won’t have a list because you weren’t organized enough to get out the door with one, but you have a few vague ideas of the things you need. You will subsequently forget those items and will instead buy everything you don’t really need and will end up having to run out to the store again later.

Your children will mope and complain about visiting this store until you meet your first grandmotherly lady handing out free samples. Suddenly, OMG THIS IS THE GREATEST STORE EVER!

Now your children are angels, but you can’t keep them by your side as they are zipping from vendor to vendor asking for samples. While in the refridgerator aisle, you see a large box of butter and you think to yourself, “I need butter. I’m always running out of butter. I should buy lots of butter at Sam’s.”

And then you feel like a total diva because you are never going to run out of butter again because you had the forethought to buy it in bulk at Sam’s. You pat yourself on the back.

You peruse the boxes of butter, trying to decide which would be the best purchase. The children are at the table at the end of the aisle sampling fiber bars. You briefly wonder if that’s a good idea. As you’re looking, trying to decide between Country Crock or Land ‘O Lakes, you hear a cry and realize your youngest has dropped his fiber bar and is terribly upset. You grab the Country Crock box and toss it in the cart because really, who can resist Country Crock spreadable butter, right?

You will finally finish up your shopping with a full cart and full tummys and will toot your own horn AGAIN when you get out of Sam’s without having to take out a second mortgage on your home.

You will drive home and unload the groceries and you will wonder why on Earth you bought so much in bulk because you have no space for it all.

Finally, after it’s all put away you will turn around and look at the box of butter on your counter – like really look at it closely. You will then gasp and tear open the box to discover your mistake.

The 5 you saw on the side of the box when you hurriedly threw it in your cart was actually 500. You thought you were buying 5 tubs of Country Crock, but actually you purchased 500 individual packets. You quickly realize that these tiny packages will not help you when you are trying to bake a cake and need a cup of butter. You wonder how many of them you’d have to open to get a cup.

You frantically search for your receipt so you can return the butter.

You can’t find it.

Anywhere.

It has disappeared.

You now have 500 individual packets of Country Crock in your refridgerator.

The End.

I’m the Cruelest Mom Ever but Look at the Awesome Pics I Took of this Caterpillar, Yo!

Sometimes coming up with clever titles is just too much, you know?

It’s spring break ’round these parts. Well – it’s spring break for the public schools. My kids, however, are being forced to do school this week because I relish in torturing them.

Muahahahahahahaha…

Seriously. you’d think I was standing over them with a bowl of cold gruel and a whip barking “What’s the sum of 5+7!” They are in the dungeon of learning, folks. You should feel sorry for them.

In a lame attempt to garner a few meager cool points, I’m offering a lot of breaks and we’re starting an hour later than usualy each morning. This gives them ample opporunity to enjoy the awesome that is Florida spring weather and hunt lizards and caterpillars to their little hearts content.

And speaking of caterpillars, check out these photos we got today of the creeper we affectionately (and completely unoriginally) named “Spikey.”

So, in celebration of my lack of awesome, please tell me – what did you do today that was awesome?

The one where I confess a lack of mercy

I’ve taken a hundred personality tests in my life. If that’s an exaggeration, it’s only just barely one.

Okay FINE! I’ve only taken ten or twelve personality tests in my life, but it might as well be a hundred because they always say the same daggum thing.

The first time I really remember being subjected to the personality test was as a junior in high school. The test was administered and the results dissected and given to me in bullets.

- You like to take charge.

- You are skilled at leading and teaching.

- You like to be center of attention. (DUH!)

- You are a go getter. (Holla!)

- You lack grace. (Hmph.)

- You scored very low on mercy.

Awesome. So basically I’m a scary fame whore who will conquer the world at the expense of anyone in my path.

Wanna be my friend?

In college I took the test that determines your personality based on four different animals. There is the Lion, the Golden Retriever, the Otter and the Beaver. Guess which category I undeniably fit into. Go ahead…just take a stab at it.

LION! You were right. You guys are paying attention. A Lion personality possesses the following strengths and weaknesses:

Strengths– Visionary, practical, productive, strong-willed, independent, decisive, leader.

Weaknesses– Cold, domineering, unemotional self-sufficient, unforgiving, sarcastic, cruel.

I am a Lioness. Sleek. Shiney. Cold and Cruel? Can I buy a new personality somewhere?

Incidentally, I married a Golden Retreiver; calm, easy going, dependable, humorous, prone to fearfulness and worry and slightly indecisive. Everybody loves a Golden Retriever. And everyone loves my husband.

Apparently I just want to attack him.

So mercy is not high on my list of giftedness. My natural tendency is walk on by. Just ask my husband.

Wait…you know what. Forget that. Don’t ask him. No need to bring him into this, right? *nervous laughter*

I know that Mercy isn’t my first reaction and dangit if I don’t fight the battle. I am extremely empathetic and am prone to fits of blubbery tearfulness when presented someone else’s pain. I cry hard, I cry ugly and I feel deep.

But that’s more compassion and empathy. Mercy? Well, that’s a different story. Lion’s don’t operate under the umbrella of mercy. It’s not in our primal nature. And I am a Lion…ness. I work on my Lion-y tendencies every single day and I’ve made great strides. However…

Just read the following under that context.

Sloan has been laid up on the couch for the last couple of days with a fever and nasty chest cold. He shakes and quivers from the high temps and he has alternated between achy and nauseous. I want to feel sorry for him. I do. Because he’s my son and lioness or not, I’m still a Mama.

But I’m also a Lion.

Roar.

So today, despite the fact that his fever broke, he was still tired enough that he spent most of the day lying on my bed watching a movie. Actually watching Game 5 of the NLCS when the Cards beat the Phillies – because nothing makes an eight year old boy feel better quicker than baseball.

It’s scientific.

Sloan and I had a conversation that went something like this today.

Sloan: “Mom. Could you get me some water?”

Me: “Okay. Just wait a minute, okay?”

Sloan: “Mom, I’m super thirsty and my throat hurts. Can you get me water now?”

Me: “Just a minute, Babe. I will. Just give me a minute.”

Sloan: “Mom. I might be dying. If I don’t get water, I just might die right here.”

Me: “Sheesh. Drama much?” I get up and go to the kitchen to get him water. I come back and hand him the cup and he drinks, then looks up at me.

Sloan: “Mom. Can you get me some medicine?”

Me: *feeling his forehead* “You don’t have a fever anymore. I think you’re good.”

Sloan: “No, Mom. I’m so stuffed up I can’t breathe. Please get me some medicine.”

With a small sigh I go back to the kitchen, get the medicine and bring it to him. He hands me his empty cup.

Sloan: “Mom. Could you get me some more water?”

The Lion roars.

Me: “Not your slave, kiddo. You’re gonna have to get this drink on your own.”

Sloan: “But Mom, I’m soooooo tired. Please?”

I set the cup down and walk to another room. Just as I leave I hear Sloan mutter, “I thought Moms were supposed to always take care of their kids when they’re sick.”

Mercy.

A Golden Retriver would have had Mercy. A Golden Retriver would have gotten him more water and probably licked the side of his face and curled up next to him in bed.

I wouldn’t know. I’m a Lion. Apparently we just eat our young…

The rockin’ Lion photo was taken by my equally rockin’ sister-in-law, Becke‘, who is not a Lion herself. I would classify her as more of a Beaver/Otter combination. Am I right, Becke’?

So what about you? Do you know your personality type? Do you eat your young?