Thursday, December 27, 2012

Stress-mas


I’m overjoyed that Christmas is over. Not to sound all scroogy about but I might do an Irish gig in celebration of the holidays coming to an end. At first I really didn’t want to be that Debbie Downer and blog about the catastrophe that was my Christmas day but then I thought if I share my life here then that includes the good, the bad and the ugly.

I love Christmas and all it represents. I truly do. Jesus’ birthday, a time to be with friends, family, extended family, new friends and family, parties, white elephant, pictures, games, food, oh yes the food! But the older I get the more responsibility gets dumped on me and I’m left feeling like a pile of doggie doo by December 25th. My responsibility doesn’t differ from any other parent’s but maybe my attitude about it stinks more than theirs.

On Christmas Eve the kids and I went with the Boy and his son to a Christmas Eve party that lasted approximately 4 hours past my children’s bedtime. Luckily their good attitudes showed up and we had an excellent evening together. We spent the night at the Boy’s parent’s house (the kids and I slept in our own room so spare me the emails, texts and calls – MOM) and woke up early Christmas morning to exchange gifts and drink hot chocolate. It was an incredible time, minus the unprecedented rain, sleet and hail storm that hit that morning. It wasn’t until I heard the loud thunder that I remembered the kid’s car seats were still in the Boy’s truck….. We started making trips to the car to put our stuff up and got completely drenched. As I ran to the truck to get the car seats I tripped and landed knees first in a puddle. Awesome. This is the moment where my attitude began to take a steep dive into Negativeville. I get up and continue running to my car at which point I almost tripped again but this time instead of falling I catapulted a booster seat clear across the street and it too, landed in a puddle. The recovery of my bad attitude isn’t looking so good at this point.

The thing about Christmas parties, gatherings and other events is the kids never want to leave. Giving the kids a 5 minute heads up that we have to leave soon is like pushing a tantrum button. I finally get my moody, didn’t get enough sleep and woke me up to damn early children into the car to head to my brother’s house for my family’s Christmas. (Side note: all this excessive traveling on Christmas day is nothing similar to the romantic comedy of Four Christmases. It’s much more like the battle scenes from Band of Brothers)

Before we hit the highway to my brother’s house I knew I had to stop for gas first. Keep in mind the rain is pouring down like a monsoon in Florida during hurricane season. The wind is blowing in every single direction. I get out, swipe my card and then I’m instructed to see the attendant. Gah! I run inside getting further soaked and ruining any possibility of looking decent for Christmas day. At this point I was aiming at just not looking homeless. The attendant swipes my card and sends me on my way. I begin to pump my gas for about 5 seconds before it stops… I press the lever again and 7 seconds later it stops. It was one of those evil ozone friendly pumps that you have to hold at the perfect angle or else it refuses to do its job. Usually these pumps put me in some weird yoga position and the pump only works when I have my right leg lifted like a pissing dog and one hand on top of the other with one eye closed. I end up looking like a blonde ostrich balancing on one leg trying to serve coffee. Only on this beautiful Christmas day the wind was blowing about 97 miles per hour and the rain was hitting me in both directions so my hair was in my face leaving me blind to the already impossible pump and getting me even more wet.  

I finally get enough gas and we pull out onto the highway. My body is tense, my hands are at 10 and 2 and I am focused on not hydroplaning or being scooped up in a wind tunnel. Then the questions begin. Who wrote jingle bells? Why is Rudolph’s nose red? What if I got an alligator for Christmas? What if it rained Kool-aid? Mom did you hear me? So naturally I begin to lose my Schmidt.

Once we made it to my brother’s house it was fine. The kids had a wonderful time with their cousins and got a lot of amazing gifts. Even on the worst of days or holidays we always walk away truly blessed whether my attitude stinks or not.

Although, when I got home that night I had this magical plan in my head to take a hot bath, get in some warm jammies and drink some wine and watch a Christmas Story. So I get home, get my shower, get my jammies, get the wine… then realize I didn’t have my wine opener. Fail. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gun control or GOD control?


Every time I open up a Word document to try and write something my fingers are frozen as if completely stuck in concrete. I know what my heart and mind are communicating to one another but getting it out on my screen has been a struggle for me. No words I put here will adequately describe the brokenness that our nation is experiencing right now. I almost feel like writing about the shootings and murders at Sandy Hook Elementary is insulting to those directly affected by it. Because truth is, there are no words even the best of writers could write to make the pain less, to make it okay or make it go away. In 10 years we will all still remember what we were doing on Friday, December 14, 2012.

Our nation, our entire world is so broken, twisted and backwards. We’ve excused God from the table like an annoying child. We’ve declared that His name isn’t needed in the pledge, our currency, our schools, our homes and most importantly our hearts. And when tragedy strikes our human side rears it’s ugly head and begins assigning blame to the crime.

This post isn’t about my personal opinion on gun control. It’s about my opinion on God Control. There is evil living in the hearts of our neighbors. Like cancer, it’s tearing away the walls of our hearts and destroying the spirit that God has placed within us. The happiness and joy God desires for us is the host and evil is the parasite that feeds on it daily. The more we deny our need for God the stronger Satan becomes at his mission to steal, kill and destroy us. Removing guns and ammunition from the shelves won’t remove the hatred and evil dwelling inside the hearts of man. We have to unite together and humble ourselves before the Lord. We have to confess our need for the One and only Savior to come down and rescue us from ourselves. We have to turn away from our pride and egos, deny our desires to be right or win an argument and fall to our knees.

The reason for the slaying in Connecticut can’t be found in Adam Lanza’s computer, or in the answers of his friends and relatives. It can only be found in his heart. His broken heart is what killed those babies and teachers, not the guns registered to his mother. When there is a will, there’s a way. If killing was his mission and placed there by the great deceiver than killings would be carried out one way or another.

Our world and nation is battling forces much stronger than political agendas. I believe that by denying God like we have as a nation we have opened so many doors and gateways for Satan to move in and fill a void with his first love, HATE. Hate comes in many shapes and forms. It is carried out with violence, broken homes, suicides, prejudice and racism and so much more. And until we arm ourselves with the word of God and His presence we are powerless to stop it and the vicious cycle of killing sprees will only continue. The innocent blood shed is saturating our world and we are sinking. Only God can save us and He will when He is invited. We must choose Him. He won’t force us into submission.

This was written by Darrell Scott, the father of a victim of the Columbine shootings.

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You've stripped away our heritage,
You've outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question "Why?"
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!

"You change a country not merely by bolstering its laws but by transforming the hearts of its people."

My prayer is that God will calm the curiosity that dwells inside of us. Replace that desire to know WHY with the desire to know HIM. I pray His presence be Omni present to all of us and especially to the families who have to continue life without their children. I pray that Satan be rebuked in the name of Jesus and that our nation can come together in agreement that God is the only One who can save us. I pray the blood of Jesus over our country. I ask forgiveness on behalf of our nation for denying Him and His rightful place in our lives. I pray that the faces of the  lives that were taken be a constant reminder of our desperate need for You God. Lord be with us now. In Jesus name, Amen.


And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 
Ephesians 3:17-19



Monday, December 10, 2012

Meeting the Family


This past weekend the boy and I ventured to East Texas for his mom’s family Christmas. I met uncles, aunts, cousins, second cousins, and babies of cousins and a miniature long haired dachshund that I absolutely fell in love with. It would be funnier for my blog’s sake if his family had some quirky hang-ups or an uncle who farted too much but my goodness they were one hound dog and rocking chair short of being a Norman Rockwell Painting. They were inviting, loving, embracing and hilariously entertaining.  I felt loved as soon as I walked in. Everyone welcomed me with a hug, well except uncle Pat who claims he isn’t a hugger but I think next year I’m gonna go for it.

We took Isaac, Kurt’s son with us too. It was great to get this time with him. He’s shy and introverted naturally so it’s been a slow process building that bond with him. Not to mention I only see him every 14 days.  I knew in time it would come, and it has.  He got to shoot his first gun and his dad and I were there to see it. Kurt misses out on so many firsts with Isaac, so it was really special for him to be there for this one. I think Isaac and I both felt a tad overwhelmed by all the family we were about to encounter so our nerves brought us closer.  We laughed together when I was afraid to shoot the bigger gun, he begged me to tickle him which I happen to be really good at. There were times he sat on my lap or rested his head on my shoulder.  And my heart filled up like a wet sham wow.

I heard stories about Kurt as a boy, and saw the way his face focused on his Nanny when she spoke about their past. Every family member expressed their gratitude for making Kurt so happy and all the while I’m thinking to myself that his happiness can’t hold a candle to the joy he has brought to my life. But to be recognized as the one who has made his life so much better reconfirmed his role in my life as well. It was a good weekend for sure.

And what road trip with a 6 year would be complete without 101 million questions? I’m certain Microsoft Word has a word limit so here is a condensed version of the questions we were asked during our trip:

1.       Can you live to be 1000 years old and still do Karate. (note “still” implies that one could possibly live to 1000)
2.       Daddy, can you beat up the hulk? No. WHY not?! Okay, yes…. Then how?
3.       What is Captain America’s favorite thing to do?
4.       I have a wedgie. (I know this isn’t a question but he said it at the best times! It happened often)
5.       Are we almost there?
6.       What if we were almost there? (these questions always confuse me because the answers kinda don’t exist.)
7.       Are Chinese people in our state?
8.       China is weird cause sometimes you have to eat sushi and they don’t give you forks, they give you chop sticks! (Again, I know this isn’t a question but his statements were epic)
9.       Daddy can you blow up that bridge?
10.   Would you blow it up after we got over it though? (I thought his concern about the hypothetical explosion of the bridge was funny)
11.   Amanda, do you like cookies because they’re good? (I was perplexed on what other possible answer there was to this question so I went with YES, can I have another.)
This weekend was nothing short of perfect, amazing, incredible, fun and special. 



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

10 Things I wish My Kids Knew.......


Sunday afternoon I found myself sitting on the couch smothered between two dirty kids who have no clue what personal space is. By 2pm my energy had hit an all time low and any vision of give a crap had vanished hours ago. I had no will left in me to fold clothes, unload dishes, or anything productive or anything in the vicinity of productive. I spoke to my sister and good friend who is battling the antics of what appears to be a demon child who is only happy when making her mommy miserable. Both were having a similar crappy day in the land of motherhood. Those two conversations probably saved my life and the lives of my children. The saying that misery loves company is completely true, especially when referring to this mothering gig. If it weren’t for days like that, I probably wouldn’t have blogs like this though. Snaps for counting my blessings yall!

So I have compiled a list of things I wish my kids knew. I’m certain if kids knew these things about their parents we could all co-exist peacefully with minimal ace whoopins, tear fests and empty wine bottles boxes.

1.       My car is a transportation device to get you to and from appointments, school, birthday parties, practice, games, and etc, NOT your personal trash receptacle!  For the love of all things sacred if it enters the car with you it should leave the car with you. This includes your silly art projects that consist of glitter and glue. 90% glitter and 10% glue. It also includes your socks, half eaten bag of ANYTHING, your juice boxes, your backpack with homework in it, your doodles, your pens, your crayons, the wrappers from your crayons that you peeled off because you were bored at the red light and anything from that dag-gum happy meal you just HAD to have. I swear I could feed a small village with all the French fries I find between the back seats! My SUV is one Go-gurt container away from being considered hazardous. For real.
2.       NO means NO. It doesn’t mean try again but whiner and more annoying. It means NO. If we say it again it means HELL HECK NO. Believe it or not parents have reasons for their actions. Sure, sometimes it’s because we need a hot bath, wine and the season finale of The Walking Dead is coming on. But most of the time it’s because we love you and NO will keep you safe, healthy or we have greater things planned for you and a YES could detour us from those activities. I assure you it has nothing to do with our longing desire to ruin your life by denying you that bag of skittles. Promise.
3.       As good as I know I am at multi-tasking, I physically cannot be in two places at once nor can I listen to two people at once. Not my fault. Blame Einstein, I think. But seriously, what on this planet makes you think I’m capable of making you a bowl of cereal when I’m taking a shower? If your sibling is speaking to me, please don’t interrupt them and then get all Marsha Marsha Marsha on me when I make you wait your turn. It feels like I’m being injected with anger when I hear MOOOOOOOOOM from the other side of the house or “You aren’t listening to me.” The only time yelling for me is acceptable is if your legs are broken or someone has you hog tied to the couch. Otherwise, get your lazy rear end off the couch, pause Austin and Ally, walk to me and make your request and add a please to the end of your order! Repeating MOOOOOOM will only send me down a funnel of fury and I will take you with me. And for Pete’s sake mind your manners and don’t interrupt!
4.       I don’t like sharing. I really don’t. 95% of everything in our household is already yours. And if it used to be mine it is probably yours now too. So excuse me if I don’t wanna share my ipod, ipad, phone or anything else with you. (side note: I don’t even have an Ipad but if I did I wouldn’t want to share it) I also don’t like sharing my bed. My bed is big enough to share but something strange happens to your equilibrium the second you enter my bed and you lay horizontal, diagonal, sideways and any other way that is not vertical. Your bodies expand like a starfish and I end up fighting for a small portion of the edge of the bed.  It’s a lava lamp of limbs and I wake up feeling like I slept in a tuna can. Sleep in your own bed!
5.       My name is MOM, not OZ. I do not know the answer to every question. There is a limit to my knowledge believe it or not. I don’t know the color of wind, I don’t know WHY, I don’t know how tall clouds are, I don’t know, I don’t know I.DO.NOT.KNOW!!!!! 9 times out of 10 my answer is going to be Because I said so anyway! Go play!
6.       Birthday parties and Christmas don’t plan themselves. There is a lot happening behind the scenes to give you these Hallmark moments.  A lot of planning, organizing, shopping and prepping is involved. It kinda makes me wanna blow a fog horn in your face when you look up at me with those disappointed eyes because the cake topper is wrong. A thank you would be marvelous but I’d settle for a friggin smile.
7.       Money. I wish you understood what it is and how it’s earned. I wish you knew that your needs will always trump your wants. It isn’t that I don’t want to give you stuff. But considering where most of your stuff ends up (under your bed or in a pile in the closet) I’m not too enthusiastic on forgoing your groceries for the week so that you can have a new toy that will probably end up lost or broken or both. On the same topic, it would be equally nice if you understood that every trip to the grocery store does not mean you automatically get candy.
8.       I wish they understood that there is only 1 of me and two of them. I don’t have a favorite all the time. I have to be MOM to both of them all the time and that doesn’t mean I love one more than the other so stop asking me who my favorite is!
9.       I wish they knew how fun I can be when I’m not exhausted. When I don’t have to exert most of my energy to refereeing their squabbles and justifying my choices to them then I can be pretty darn awesome. Allowing me to rest 5 minutes when we walk in the door instead of demanding snacks and juice might energize me enough to beat them in a tickle fight later instead of just beating them.
10.    Lastly and most importantly, I wish they knew how much I love them. I wish they could comprehend a small fraction of my love, admiration and devotion to them.  I wish they could understand that I am always on their side and fighting to provide a happy, safe and fulfilling life for them. And I’m not their opponent or enemy to challenge. That disciplining them hurts me more than them. If only they knew their happiness is a badge of honor on my mother vest and my love for them is never ending.

I’m certain if these things could be taught and understood by our children then there would be a lot less Mommy Blogs out there to read. So until then, I'll get my blog on here!

Friday, November 30, 2012

10 Things NOT to get your lady for Christmas


In an attempt to save lives, I am posting this for any male readers I might have. I’m pretty sure I have 1 or 2. And one of those two are my boyfriend who I force encourage to read my posts sometimes. So ladies you will need to casually place this entry somewhere they might accidentally read it. Like next to the remote, the Cowboys schedule, or the toilet.

Holidays are a great time to show your spouse that you haven’t been tuning them out all year. And when she makes those not so subtle hints and you grunt and nod in agreement, that you actually heard the words she produced. Chances are you didn’t hear her over the referee throwing flags on the play so that’s where I come in. After some mild field research (Facebook) I have compiled a list of Naughty gifts to steer clear of when shopping for the special lady in your life.

1.       Unless SPECIFICALLY requested under NO circumstances should you buy her any type of cookware. And by specifically I mean you need to know the model#. Maybe even record her requesting this item for future argument reference.
2.       Similar to #1, any type of cleaning gadgets is also viewed and douche-baggy. We’ve conceded to the fact that if we want it cleaned or urine free we have to be the ones to wipe it and wash it. But no amount of fancy gadget will make that fact easier to swallow. If anything, it will just add additional pissy-ness to our chore day.
3.       Tools. Just because we have trouble hanging pictures evenly doesn’t mean we want a laser level. I don’t care how many DIY pins she has on Pinterest she does not want tools! And yes we occasionally need a Phillips screwdriver to change batteries in our kid’s toys. This is not a tip-off that we would like an electric screwdriver or anything else that you can get from Home Depot.
4.       Underwear. There is a time and place for this stuff gentlemen. Christmas morning in front of grandma is not it. Not to mention, men are generally clueless about the style and fit we prefer. Sleeping undies, daily undies,  honeymoon undies…. Plus you don’t wanna be that guy digging thru the bin of underwear at Victoria Secret. P.S. do you really know what size we are? Don’t risk it.
5.       Chocolate or anything else edible or homemade. Women want to have a tangible gift to show off to their friends use or put somewhere and remember that at least once this year you took the time to think about us and this present symbolizes that. If we eat it then there is nothing left to show for it except a few extra inches to our hips and probably new underwear that won’t fit.
6.       Books. This is tricky because it won’t always be the case. Each woman is different but my guess is if your lady is a serious reader then she will already have the books downloaded to her Kindle Fire the second they became available on Itunes or Amazon. If she doesn’t it’s because she isn’t an avid reader and you need to exit Barnes and Nobles and try again.
7.       Jewelry. Whuck?! All women love jerwlery right? WRONG! All women love diamonds. Again, this is tricky because most women would be thrilled that you got her jewelry but a women’s definition of jewelry and a man’s differ slightly. This is also a slippery slope if you aren’t married but seriously dating your significant other. Your lady is wanting more than a charm bracelet. If you’re set on getting her jewelry this year, stay away from the terms, “"plated", "filled" or gold-tone".  And if you look at the price and feel good about it, keep looking. It the price scares you and makes you sweat some, you’re getting closer. Basically, go big or go home… Alone.
8.       Gag gifts. It’s Christmas, not April Fools Day. Don’t try to showcase your marvelous sense of humor right now. It’s not funny, it’s not cute. Trust me.
9.       Anything sensible. Women are generally very dependable, responsible and reasonable 365 days a year. Mix it up with a sky diving lesson, helicopter ride, hot air balloon adventures. Help us to let our freak flag fly!
10.   A Gym Membership. Unless you already have your burial plot picked out do not attempt this. It doesn’t matter how much she has been complaining about getting in shape or fitting into her old jeans. You will be wounded or killed or worse.

This list could vary from chick to chick. Speaking from experience and the polls I took, this is a generic guideline to assist with your holiday shopping. Merry Christmas fellas!

These better not be keys to your heart, dear. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hello Holidays... So we meet again.....


Ahhh hello holiday season. We meet again. Feels like you were just here draining my bank account. I promised myself that the next time you came around I would be more prepared for you.  Mentally and financially. Well it looks like I failed again. Thankfully the birth of Pinterest has helped us all appear to be more crafty and chef like than we probably are. It still doesn’t make the fact that there are only 27 and ½ days left until Christmas morning.

And as if that lingering reality doesn’t freak you out enough, there is also the planning of these holiday functions. I’m not sure how the planning of holiday events work with your family but with mine it’s much like trying to find your way out of a labyrinth blindfolded after a few shots of something dark.

Within my immediate family I have a divorced sister who has a unique custody schedule with her ex. I also have an Ex that I share custody and holidays with. Of course my ex has his immediate family with married spouses and children and extended in-law agendas. All of my step brothers and sisters are married with children and in-laws and other timetables to adhere to. Then add the Boy to the batter of blended schedules and confusion. He has a son and an Ex that he shares custody and holidays with as well. I’m assuming she has immediate family dynamics too.  So planning a function, a party, or even Christmas day without T-boning into someone else’s plans are unlikely. The chances that everyone will be willing to bend, break or compromise their traditions and arrangements are about as likely as catching Lindsey Lohan on a good day. And even if they are, coordinating one single event requires a minimum of 4-8 phone calls or 37 text messages. By the end of the holiday season the only ones who actually had an enjoyable, stress free time are the pets we leave at home.

Men and women see this tedious task of planning holiday functions so differently. Men see it as just another place they have to tuck their shirts in at and awkwardly chit chat with distant relatives and semi-complete strangers. They also view our temporary lapse of sanity to coordinate these events to be silly and insignificant. But women know that if we don’t do it…. No one will. The entire holiday season would pass without seeing or mingling with anyone outside of the one sided conversations they have with ESPN.
It’s draining just thinking about it.

At some point during my transition from a child to adult the holidays became less about the excitement of what presents were mine and more like a gauntlet of time management.

There’s no beating this carousel of madness. Just get on, get flexible, bring a side dish and hope for the best.

Happy Holiday planning everyone!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Then there was one...


Since daycares require a donation of your right kidney to keep your kids during the holidays, Kylee has spent the week with her dad and I have had Logan at home with me. The dynamics when you downsize from two kids to one kid is remarkable. It makes me wonder why I ever considered having 1 kid to be difficult. I’m sure mothers of 3 or 4 are thinking the same thing about me with my 2. All of this math is confusing me.  

With Kylee out of the house, Logan has received my undivided attention and I have discovered a few things about my son that I either didn’t know or didn’t realize until now.

1.       He is gross – He is a total boy and talks like one. He says things like, “I’m gonna put poop on your eye ball” and “I ate my fart!”  ” Whaaa? Where did that come from?  Is that even possible?

2.       He is extremely silly – I already knew this about him but when Kylee isn’t around his guard comes down and he unleashes the silly monster to run rapid (and naked) around the house. He crawls around on all fours and says he’s a naked puppy, he dances and explicitly shakes his booty to the point where I am uncomfortable and quite certain breaking a few laws.

3.       He likes to snuggle – Again, something I already knew, but when it’s the 3 of us, Kylee and Logan have to compromise and split me. She gets one side, he gets the other and I get squished and my limbs go numb. When he doesn’t have to share, he is all over me. His sweet little blonde head never left my shoulder. Last night I was doing the dishes and he said, “mommy why you doing that, sit with me.” So I put the Dawn down, dried my hands and accepted his invitation.

4.       He’s tough – Now this one surprised me.  Typically when the 3 of us are playing or wrestling, he will be the first one to cry because he was accidentally pushed down, or hit too hard. Actually, Kylee is the first one. Actually I have no idea who is the first to cry because they are both pretty wimpy and love the sympathy attention. However the last couple of days he seems tougher. He fell off of his bike yesterday and got up and said “I strong mommy, I not crying.” He bumped his head on the faucet in the tub and didn’t flinch. Not sure if this is because of Kylee’s absence but either way I like that he is outgrowing his feeble exterior.

5.       He loves his sister – Of course, duh! But on a daily basis it might be hard to recognize the love over all the bickering and arguing. I swear sometimes they taunt one another as if it were their calling in life! But the first night away from Kylee he was concerned about where she was, when she was coming home and why she wasn’t with us. And in his sweet little voice, “I miss my Kylee” I could hear the pure love he has for his big sister.

The quiet in the house has been a relaxing change of pace. But I am looking forward to getting Kylee back today and snuggling her until my limbs go numb. I miss the feeling of her hands playing with my hair as we watch TV. I miss answering questions like, “What color is the wind?” I miss the smell if chicken nuggets and the sight of her socks laying by the front door. OK maybe I don’t miss the sock part, but I can’t wait to tell her how much we missed HER!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

The New Parenting Plan


I’ve hit my limit.  There were days and previous blogs where I only thought I reached the pinnacle of my tolerance but I was not even close. This is a pivotal moment in my career as a mom. It’s the make or break, do or die, go big or go home time.  It’s the moment where Jerry McGuire realizes he loves the Rene Zellweger. It’s when Patrick Swayze gets Baby out of the corner. It’s when Ally picks Noah. It’s when Rose let’s go of Jack. (Even after she promised to never let go. But whatev – I need to move on) both of my kids have an abundance of passion and spirit that they seemingly have no filter for or a clue how to function around other humans.  Here’s where my role comes into play.

First off, I have tried every other method from Dr. Phil and Super Nanny to the Duggar lady. Kudos to those who can make the peaceful and kind approach work for them. Nothing would be more amazeballs than being able to talk things out peacefully and distribute punishments and learn lessons from our mistakes. That’s just not how it goes down in my house. I have a 6 year old who could hold her own in a debate with Nancy Grace and a 3 year old whose screech can crack glass. Without the diagnosis that my kids have some rare form of ADHD that makes them lie, talk back, disobey and go deaf when I speak, than medicating their symptoms is not an option for me.  (But medicating me is still on the back burner and has not been ruled out yet)

The Game Plan. I’m writing this blog to hold myself accountable as well for anyone who might possibly see my kid’s butt cheeks in the next two months. I anticipate it will take approximately 2-3 months for the new plan to be the new normal.  I’m prepared to go longer if needed.

Introducing – The Bad Decision Paddle. One side has an L and the other has a K. Each time I am forced to use this they will make a notch on it with a sharpie before the punishment is distributed so they will have a visual reminder of how many times they made bad choices.

Step 1: Warnings are over-rated and will no longer be distributed. When I ask them to do something, stop something or to continue something, that will be their “warning.” If they don’t comply with my instructions then the BDP (Bad Decision Paddle) will be utilized.
Step 2: Sibling rivalry and arguing will be disciplined equally. Both children will be sent to separate time out locations. I no longer (nor did I ever) care who started it or whose fault it is. Assigning blame is not the objective. If they decide they are incapable of getting along in the same room, they will be secluded until they decide being nice is more important that being right.  

Step 3: NO is now considered a cuss word and will be removed from their vocabulary. At some point in their short existence on earth they were given the misconception that they have earned the right to use the word NO. This is a privilege they will receive when they turn 18 and get out of my house. Until then, they don’t have an option to tell me NO unless it is the correct answer to a question. It is not to be used in response to an order I or any other adult has given them.

Step 4: TV is a privilege not a rite of passage. Kids these days (yes I just used that term. I’m officially old) have such a bogus sense of entitlement to stuff. Whatever happened to earning things? They will now earn the benefits of watching TV when they submit to steps listed above. Rumor has it children can survive without the television being on so we are going to test that premise. It will become rare luxury they aim to obtain.  
Step 5: Kindness > hatefulness. It is no surprise that much of what leaves Kylee’s mouth has a bit of a sassy twist to it. Most of the time it isn’t what she is saying, it is how she is saying it. Kindness will be displayed. Period. End of discussion.  

Step 6: Lies = BDP, early bedtime. This isn’t an issue with Logan yet. However I find myself catching Kylee in little white lies daily. Therefore, if TV privileges have been earned at the time of the lie, they will be revoked.  

These steps are in no particular order. The gist of my new parenting method is, obey or be punished. So simple. My kids are extremely smart. They know exactly what I expect from them and they have a choice to comply and be happy or disobey and be unhappy (and maybe a little bit bruised) But I’ve decided that I am going to live a happy, stress free (or as close to stress free as possible) life. Kids can be a joyous addition to that type of life if they choose to be. But I refuse to spend their entire childhood frazzled with high blood pressure.

My kids are with me the majority of the time so I assume the responsibility of implementing this new militant approach. I’m hoping when I share my new game plan with the Ex-Man he will be more than in agreement with it, but will take an active role in helping me execute it. Because the kids are with me most, the role of jury and executioner falls on my shoulders more often than it will on him. Being their friend is just not an option for me right now. This will be uncomfortable adjustment for all of us. We will each have to change our mindset, our actions and our hearts to see positive results.

I believe what the scripture says. Proverbs 13:24 says whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

As a single mom, we are required to be stronger than we feel and tougher than we look. Prayers are needed. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Proverbs 31:26


I read an article the other day about how moms react to their children. It focused on the scripture from proverbs 31:26. It says, She opens her mouth with wisdom. The teaching of kindness is on her tongue. It can be ultra difficult to conduct myself with wisdom and kindness when my 6 year old is sassing me about what I need to do for her or how forgetting her folder was my fault. But there aren’t loop holes or stipulations for God’s word. It doesn’t say She opens her mouth with wisdom. The teaching of kindness is on her tongue unless your child has disobeyed you again and refuses to pack her lunch because you bought the wrong flavor yogurt.

A dark cloud of guilt and regrets began to overcome me as I remembered that morning (and a few other mornings and nights) I had with kids. Let’s just say I wouldn’t be receiving any medals for my performance that day. Every morning has a lot of potential to suck. The kids are tired and don’t want to do anything that involves moving. Regardless of how pleasantly I ask them to do something, I’m always responded to with grunts, moans, complaints and hesitation. I’m a very scheduled person. Every minute is spoken for and if the children are off task my anxiety and fear of being late begin to build up. As my apprehension grows it attaches to the kids like static and then they begin to feel rushed, uneasy, nervous and ultimately a frustrated tantrum ball with limps. And the learn it from me. sigh.

That morning I was putting Kylee’s hair up for school and as I was wrapping the hair tie around to secure her ponytail it snapped and broke. Kylee looked at my reflection in the mirror and said, “You shouldn’t pull on those so hard, mom.” I fetched a new hair tie and finished grooming her. But I started thinking about what she said and applied it to our relationships in life. If we tug and pull on them too hard and often it’s only a matter of time before they snap and are no longer useful. (dang that’s such a good metaphor right?!)
I began to examine all of my relationships and the ones that have really been tugged at too hard and could be on the verge of snapping if I don’t apply more kindness, grace and forgiveness to them.
My relationship to Kylee is a struggle and I wish it wasn’t. I battle it every day. I see a lot of (possibly phony) Facebook updates about other people’s kids and how perfect they are; How they chased butterflies together and ate gluten free sandwiches with a side of broccoli and the kid calls their mom “best friend”. While across town I’m sneaking carrots into their easy mac hoping they won’t notice and offering $1 per green bean that is consumed and my nickname isn’t “best friend” rather something along the sound of UGHRAHUH, MOM! Some days are easy and more days are hard. My exhaustion sometimes overrides my ability to repeat speak in kindness to the kids.

I fall short daily at being the perfect mom. At church last week the pastor said we can’t be the perfect parent, but we can be a praying parent.

I Lord I pray that you renew my patience daily. Fill me with the same grace that you freely show me. Help me to demonstrate Your love and kindness to my children regardless of my daily circumstances. Break the spirit of stubbornness in both myself and Kylee and replace it with your peaceful presence. Give me the confidence, wisdom and boldness to teach my kids Your way, not my way. 


Monday, November 5, 2012

Trick or treat, peeing in a bowl and falling in love. Its a 3 for 1


I’m so glad Halloween is over. This holiday is so annoying for me. We always have fun but it takes a lot of effort on my part. The kids have their own costume ideas and it usually doesn’t consist of anything creative (or free) around the house and typically has accessories sold separately thus pushing my costume budget way off of the Dave Ramsey approval list.  Ever since the sex offender map became available to the public, trick or treating just doesn’t have the same vibe it did when I was a child. We always attend our church’s fall festival and the outcome is always the same. Kids have fun, get candy and play games. Mom gets stuck holding buckets all night and screaming for kids not to run off (they do anyway). I got the buckets kids home safe and sound. Only 11 more months before I have to do it again. YAY!

This weekend I squeezed every ounce of patience my body could physically produce into the attempt to potty train Logan. This also resembled what they teach at A Man’s Best Friend. I treated Logan like a dog. I took him to the potty, begged him to go, waited, waited some more, nothing, went back to the living room, accident. Alerted with much enthusiasm (frustration) that pee pee goes in the potty not on my carpet or couch. Clean up the mess, repeat. Reward any bowel movement with a treat and praise. So many parents told me not to force it, not to push it on him or he will resent it. That was my game plan until he turned 3 and now I am resenting him. I would much rather be the resented than the resentor. So I’m pushing him. Go ahead, judge me. Not using the potty is no longer an option and I’m finally seeing some results. It’s not even actual potty training. He refuses to use the actual toilet that flushes. No, that would be entirely too convenient for me. He insists on using those little mini-me potties. The kind you have to physically dump the crap into the toilet then clean the bowl. It should be called bowl training, or bucket training. I guess it’s my destiny to be hands on with fecal matter. But I am hopeful I just bought my last box of diapers. Take your victories where ya can right?

The boy and I are still actively falling in love with each other. We try to get our kids together as often as our schedules allow. With rotating weekends, Kylee’s cheer games, Isaac’s baseball, birthday parties, and everything else in between it isn’t always feasible for us. But this weekend we were able to work it out and hang out with our kids together. Kurt helped Logan learn to ride his bike, Isaac tried to wrestle me, Kylee engaged Kurt. It was a beautifully chaotic day. We put a movie on and all the kids lay on the floor together eating popcorn while Kurt and I had the VIP seats on the couch. One by one a kid would join us until it was all of us on the couch together. I could tell Kurt and I were both looking at the same thing. Our future. It was perfect.

Until Logan peed on the couch. JUST KIDDING. I think.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Jeggings are not jeans...


It’s that time of year again. The seasons are changing and I’ve entered the vortex of never ending laundry. I keep approaching the daunting task of organizing the kid’s drawers and closet before winter officially arrives.  But each time I get ballsy enough to start the task, the overwhelming amount of clothes that don’t fit them anymore and lack of places to stick them overcome my good intentions.

Socks are my archenemy. I hate them, they hate me and we battle it out all winter. They run and hide, I seek and sometimes find but usually their partner won’t survive. All I’m left with is a basket full of widowed socks that spend an eternity being my new dust rags. Mwahahahaahhaha!!! (evil laugh) I still hate them.

Living in Texas has its advantages. We get to wear sandals a couple months longer and we can get away with wearing hoodies before we need an actual coat. But there is always that pivotal moment when the cold front arrives and I’m completely unprepared for it. Kylee is even more unprepared for cold weather than I am. She goes thru a cycle of denial that she can’t wear her strappy sandals, jeggings are not jeans, and socks are not optional. YAY for more reasons to fight with my 6 year old! (insert sarcasm here___) The last cold front that came in I decided to do some experimental parenting. (Or I was just tired of justifying myself to a child and wanted to see her choices nip her in the bud – yeah, probably that one)

I told her it was going to be cold and she should dress accordingly.  Also, we were dressing  to go to church. Now our church is very casual and has a come as you are type dress code. However Kylee had been wearing the seams out of a tiny pair of jean shorts that were an inch away from being spanks with pockets. Too short for church or public for that matter but the cold factor was just another reason to retire them. I secretly plot to get those shorts to stay at her dads but they mysteriously end up in my laundry week after week. Well played daddy. Well played. Anyhow, she glared at me with her eyebrow raised clearly thinking I’m the dumbest mother of all time who skipped the orientation on how to raise a child. She was looking at me as if I told her aliens were pooping French fries and it was raining tartar sauce. 

What? I ask. She explained to me that it’s not that cold and she’d be fine. The escapade of getting ready for church can deplete me of my faith. In efforts to restore my energy and potentially set her up for a good ole life lesson, I decided not to fight her on this and see what happened. As predicted, she was cold. She begged me to turn the heater on, she asked to wear my jacket and said her toes were numb… Mwahahahaahhaha!!! Miserable child with self inflicted discomfort!!! Mission accomplished.

Sometimes I have to let her make the wrong decisions so she can see how right I always am.

See? I didn’t skip the orientation Kylee. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Diary of a Mad Cheer Mom


If I had a magic power I think I would like to be able to read minds. There’s no telling what the cheer moms think of me. I could take a a pretty well educated guess though. In my defense, their hours leading up to practice probably look  a lot different than mine. From what I can tell I’m the only single mom on the squad. This explains my frequent complaints about the hidden fees of cheerleading.

Usually the second we get home and walk inside the production of mayhem begins. Backpacks hit the ground and seemingly explode leaving debris of Kindergarten school work mixed with dirty socks and candy wrappers. Shoes are removed one at a time and feet apart from one another. This lays the foundation for the inevitable “WHERE’S MY OTHER SHOE?!” fiasco for the following morning. Socks go flying and they must multiply as their make their decent to the floor. There’s no other explanation as to why 4 stinky feet produce 6 socks. And none match.

Our agenda last night consisted of a school project due today and cheer practice. On cheer nights my routine is reasonably disturbed and it becomes less of a routine and more of a race to the finish line. It doesn’t really matter how organized you are or how many ideas you’ve implemented from Pinterest. With kids, your routine and structure means jack didley squat because kids are constantly dropping weapons of mass destruction on your plans.  And they’ll look at you right in the face as they destroy your hopeful dream of an orderly night. For instance, as we’re walking out of the door for practice Kylee hands me a note that she is responsible for providing her entire class with snacks the next day. Boom!

I didn’t want to be late to practice. So instead of going to the store with 2 kids for 1 thing I decided to drop Kylee off at practice with my friend and Logan and I would run up to the store. Genius. I avoided the “MOM CAN I GET SOMETHING? PUH-LEEEEASE! OH MAN! I NEVER GET ANYTHING! THAT’S NOT FAIR!” headache.

We get to practice, I unload Logan, grab our drinks, the fold up chairs and head towards the squad as gracefully as I possibly can. My hands being full is a look I wear often.  I notice the lack of movement and as I get closer and realize everyone is looking at me. Apparently they were practicing with their pom poms and  Kylee’s were in my car… At the store.. Nothing like being that mom who holds up the entire thing. Practice continues and for some reason my child thinks she can get out of formation whenever she feels like it and that’s Cheer Mom 101. Every week at practice I spend a good amount of time directing Kylee not to play in traffic, keeping Logan out of ant piles and reminding Kylee to stop counting the clouds and watch her coach. I usually use my nice, we’re in public around strangers voice but they have grown an immunity to that and I’m forced to use my Real Housewives of New Jersey voice.

This is a weekly event of yelling, repeating and yelling some more in front of the other moms who are always well put together. Whereas I look as though I tied myself to the back of a school bus and took the long way there. Which that might be less painful than what I'm currently doing and could save on gas... Hmmm? So like I said, no telling what these fine ladies think of me. 

I bet they drive their nice Tahoes to Starbucks and make spirit sticks together and discuss the frazzled new mom who sarcastically complains about spending $5 on a homecoming gift. Sure wish they’d bring me a latte back though.

The Diary of a Mad Cheer Mom


If I had a magic power I think I would like to be able to read minds. There’s no telling what the cheer moms think of me. I could take a a pretty well educated guess though. In my defense, their hours leading up to practice probably look  a lot different than mine. From what I can tell I’m the only single mom on the squad. This explains my frequent complaints about the hidden fees of cheerleading.

Usually the second we get home and walk inside the production of mayhem begins. Backpacks hit the ground and seemingly explode leaving debris of Kindergarten school work mixed with dirty socks and candy wrappers. Shoes are removed one at a time and feet apart from one another. This lays the foundation for the inevitable “WHERE’S MY OTHER SHOE?!” fiasco for the following morning. Socks go flying and they must multiply as their make their decent to the floor. There’s no other explanation as to why 4 stinky feet produce 6 socks. And none match.

Our agenda last night consisted of a school project due today and cheer practice. On cheer nights my routine is reasonably disturbed and it becomes less of a routine and more of a race to the finish line. It doesn’t really matter how organized you are or how many ideas you’ve implemented from Pinterest. With kids, your routine and structure means jack didley squat because kids are constantly dropping weapons of mass destruction on your plans.  And they’ll look at you right in the face as they destroy your hopeful dream of an orderly night. For instance, as we’re walking out of the door for practice Kylee hands me a note that she is responsible for providing her entire class with snacks the next day. Boom!

I didn’t want to be late to practice. So instead of going to the store with 2 kids for 1 thing I decided to drop Kylee off at practice with my friend and Logan and I would run up to the store. Genius. I avoided the “MOM CAN I GET SOMETHING? PUH-LEEEEASE! OH MAN! I NEVER GET ANYTHING! THAT’S NOT FAIR!” headache.

We get to practice, I unload Logan, grab our drinks, the fold up chairs and head towards the squad as gracefully as I possibly can. My hands being full is a look I wear often.  I notice the lack of movement and as I get closer and realize everyone is looking at me. Apparently they were practicing with their pom poms and  Kylee’s were in my car… At the store.. Nothing like being that mom who holds up the entire thing. Practice continues and for some reason my child thinks she can get out of formation whenever she feels like it and that’s Cheer Mom 101. Every week at practice I spend a good amount of time directing Kylee not to play in traffic, keeping Logan out of ant piles and reminding Kylee to stop counting the clouds and watch her coach. I usually use my nice, we’re in public around strangers voice but they have grown an immunity to that and I’m forced to use my Real Housewives of New Jersey voice.

This is a weekly event of yelling, repeating and yelling some more in front of the other moms who are always well put together. Whereas I look as though I tied myself to the back of a school bus and took the long way there. Which that might be less painful than what I'm currently doing and could save on gas... Hmmm? So like I said, no telling what these fine ladies think of me. 

I bet they drive their nice Tahoes to Starbucks and make spirit sticks together and discuss the frazzled new mom who sarcastically complains about spending $5 on a homecoming gift. Sure wish they’d bring me a latte back though.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Mother Resume


Amanda D Saunders a.ka. Moooooommmm!
123 Welcome To Organized Caos Lane
Burleson, TX 76028

OBJECTIVE:
Continue raising the children that God entrusted to me with little to no mental damage or visible scars. To maintain a semi-clean living environment. To do the dishes every night and not put them off until the morning (because let's face it, that ain't gonna happen). To teach them things that Disney and NickJr can’t. Resume teaching my kids the difference between joking and lying, what the dirty clothes baskets are for and where the trash can is in every room. Demonstrate how to be kind and patient (except when in traffic or in the line at the grocery store behind someone with a coupon book)

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Two Years of Single Parenting:
Top priorities for the success of the household included but are not limited to the following:

  • Daily Prayer
  • Paying rent on time
  • Meal plan (does not include rotating Taquitos, chicken nuggets and Macaroni)
  • Picking which battles to fight and which to let go. (I.e. answering the door for the pizza delivery guy while you’re changing your shirt in the living room and forced to leap behind the door – Suit up its battle time. Letting them have another Go-Gurt before dinner – let it go)
  • Multi task – (i.e. Get home, walk in the door, sit purse down, respond to requests for juice and snacks, rotate laundry, unload dishwasher, feed the fish, get on the floor and tickle the kids, cook dinner, (smile) eat dinner, open the toy box while you clean up dinner, start baths, remind them where the dirty clothes basket is (again) wash kids, (smile) read stories, make lunch for the next day, sign folders, (smile) tuck the kids in bed, open the wine SMILE… Repeat following business day)
  • Remain unbiased when a sibling argument erupts even if you know the older sibling was purposely trying to get that exact reaction from their little brother and the little brother retaliated and hit the older sister in the head with his Iron Man. (don’t point out my run on sentence) Lessons to be learned, teach them.
  • Breathe and smile
  • Drink wine
  • Record a lot of Bravo TV shows
  • Find a new way of saying NO that makes them think you are saying YES. I find it helps to blame the teachers or your boss for your shortcomings. (i.e. I wish I could but my boss won’t let me off work and if I don’t work we can’t go to the movies this weekend. Or, I would love to help with that fundraiser but your teacher said they have enough volunteers…. Look Wizards of Waverly place is on!! Would you like some skittles?
  • Hot baths
EDUCATION:
My education as a” moooooommmmm” is based solely on live and learn basis typically learned the smelly, sticky and hard way.

  • Don’t attempt to make that quick run to the store without an emergency diaper and wipes. You will NOT be in and out, you WILL have a doody situation and you WILL be that mom with the smelly poop-stained-pants kids causing heads to turn and eyebrows to be raised.
  • Keep your reaction to tantrums, shots, injuries down to a minimal freak out conniption
  • Don’t expect to sit down often
  • Sippy cups are a moldy milk booby trap. If there is a sippy cup left out, rinse it immediately or it will grow Brussels sprouts and attract trolls.
  • Your car will magnetize wrappers, happy meal toys, markers with missing lids, empty juice boxes and dirty socks. The harder you try to keep it clean, the dirtier it gets. Don’t fight it.
  • Your idea of a clean room and the kid’s idea of a clean room will always differ. Never underestimate how much crap will fit under the bed. Always inspect the job.
  • Skipping naps is never a good idea no matter how good of a mood they are in before noon. The transformation from pleasant child to Bart Simpson is rapid.
  • The dirty clothes basket will always be viewed as a sled, a cage or car. There is no cure for this.
  • Being late means nothing to kid’s. Literally.
  • Communication when the TV on is impossible. I repeat, IMPOSSIBLE. If there is a fire, turn the TV off first, then yell FIRE!
  • You can’t be in two places at once. Trying to will result in a pulled muscle.
  • You can’t please two kids at once. Trying to will result in a frustration attack.
  • When a kid promises they won’t make a mess, they’re lying.

SKILLS: Multi-tasker, full time dispute settler, precise booger picker, toddler groomer, expedited chauffer, personal chef, warden, on call nurse, specialized assistant, individual caregiver, full time MOOOOOOM.


References Available Upon Request. Could take up to 7 business days.