Archive for October, 2010


Friday, October 29th, 2010

So yesterday I was trying to figure out what I would write for today’s post… With it being Halloween weekend and all, I thought I would be really original and write about that.

Andrew is having a Halloween party at school so after work, I picked him up and we bought grapes (and 9 million other things) for the party. I signed up for that so I could delude myself into thinking that he MIGHT eat something healthy. Yeah, right! If I were in a room full of cookies, brownies and candy, the last thing in the world I would go for is a handful of grapes.

I got home, made dinner for Andrew and myself, played cars with the little guy while explaining for the hundredth time that just because his new movies have been shipped from the store, they don’t arrive at the house the second we click “BUY” on the computer. I made lunch, picked up the mail, paid bills, packed up the car and started to freak out about how much work I still had to get done.

Somewhere around 11:30 last night, I started to fall asleep at the keyboard mid-brief. I got up this morning at 6 and started working on it again (there are 5 more that are all due on the same day next week). So in the insanity of being in “brief mode” I forget all about my post.

Andrew is napping right now, but in an hour they’ll get all the kids up and throw them into costumes for the big Halloween parade at the school. Somehow I managed to remember both my video camera and my regular camera so the immediate world will be able to check out my guy. He’s dressing up as Woodie from Toy Story (although he’s also claimed to be dressing as Pluto, a chicken and a doggy named Skittles). I was really looking forward to leaving work early, taking Andrew home after the parade and actually spending a good chunk of time together – but work has again conspired against me…

Work seems to have a habit of doing that at the most inopportune times.

Anyway, have a great weekend everyone and happy Halloween!


Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

All week Jack’s school has been doing nothing but preparing for Halloween. Every day when I pick him up he has a new piece of artwork relating to the holiday.  He tells me how much he loves Halloween and can’t wait for the “tricks and treats.”  He has a big party on Thursday that I hope to attend.

We pass by several houses on our way to and from school that are decorated with spooky things.  He gets so excited every time we pass by and shouts, “mommy, look at those giant blow up pumpkins, or look at that icky spider.”  It’s so cute to hear him get so excited, but starting to get repetitious when I see a giant yard ornament and the next second Jack will shout out what it is.  Next it will be turkeys and then Santa Clauses… oh my!

This year Jack is going to be a Ninja!  His father found the costume when he was deployed last year and visited Singapore.  It’s a cute little outfit, complete with the hat and long dark braid.  Jack is excited about it and has even mastered his ninja kicks and punches.  He has been given specific directions NOT to kick or punch anything or anyone.  Tate is going to be a pumpkin because he is my lil’ pumpkin.  My husband and I haven’t decided on a costume yet.  We better hurry up and think of something before the weekend arrives.

I look forward to seeing all the little kiddies dressed up in their favorite costumes.  I hope you and your families have a wonderful Halloween!

Balancing It All

Monday, October 25th, 2010

I quit my full-time job when Brady was 2-weeks old. I had always intended to go back after a year off. I was a teacher in the local public school. (And I loved my job.) But as soon as I met Brady, I knew that I was supposed to stay home. I wasn’t sure WHY I was supposed to stay home, I just knew.

At that time, financially, we couldn’t afford for me not to work, so I had to think fast and come up with options. Initially I started my own teaching company. I was away from Brady for 10-20 hours per week, but was making as much as I was working full time, if not more. So I dealt with the time away. Throughout the past four years, my job has evolved into more of a managerial position with my company and I have greatly increased my hours with my editorial, content manager position with an online company dedicated to helping teachers – – for free. So now most weeks I am away from Brady about 3-5 hours (for work purposes). I still work 20-30 hours each week, but rarely away from home.

I get in a good 10 hours each week while Brady attends preschool. And a gracious neighbor takes him swimming once each week to give me another 2 hours. So that has helped. The rest of the time, I tend to feel like I am balancing spinning plates on my hands, feet, and even my head at times! I think if our living situation were more traditional, life would be easier. But I am blessed to have mamaw and papa nearby, in case I get in a pinch.

It seems as a parent, no matter what, you have some guilt. If I am working on my laptop I look at Brady and think, “I should be playing with him.” So there starts the guilt. On the other hand, if I am playing with him and know that I have a project for work to do for the following day, I feel guilty that I am not holding up my end of the deal with my work contract.

Sometimes it feels as though I am half mom and half worker. I guess this is how all-working moms feel (and this is before you add in the house cleaning, grocery shopping, chauffer running, and other daily duties). How do we do it? I have come to realize, there is only one thing we can do – – our best. I make sure that I devote about an hour 1-1 time to Brady, sometimes playing outside, swimming at the local indoor pool, playing trains (the usual 1st choice), or whatever he chooses.

While I think all children should feel cherished by their parents, they also need to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around them and sometimes mama or daddy need to work and can’t play (be it housework or working for an income). This may be especially hard for my “only” child to understand, but he has gotten much better.

My to do list (for home or work) will never be completely caught up. But in the grand scheme of things, I don’t think it will matter if the dishes sit in the sink one night so that I have more time for a logic game with Brady. Thankfully I haven’t broken any of my spinning plates yet (well, not figuratively anyway).

Play Ball

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

When I was growing up, my dad wanted my sister and me to play sports. Even though baseball was (and still is) like religion in my family, we still had a choice. We could do whatever we wanted so long as it was a team sport.

He told us playing on a team was important and would teach us a lot… how to work with others, be part of a team, help others succeed without needing to be a superstar ourselves. (See dad, I really did listen.)

From the time my sister and I were old enough to hold a bat without tipping over, we played baseball. Sure, there were other sports. Field hockey for me. Just about every sport except soccer for Alli.

Last week, they started a sports program at Andrew’s day care. I checked it out online but, really, let’s be honest. There was only one real question that I wanted answered.

Will my son like this?

I asked one of his teachers, who has been with Andrew off and on since he was 4 months old. Without hesitation, she told me Andrew would love it. I wrote them a check that day…

Yesterday Andrew had his first Amazing Athletes class. Each week, they teach them different skills and sports. They had the little kids running around outside through ladder drills. The rungs were painted different colors and Andrew proudly told us that he raced through the ladder super fast, while NOT TOUCHING THE BROWN RUNGS. (Actually it came out like “bwown ones,” but you get the point.)

Then they taught the kids how to throw a football. They haven’t progressed to catching yet, so the kids were all throwing into a net. Andrew put on his “I’m so smart” voice and sagely told us that to throw a football you have to put your fingers on the white lines (aka the laces) not the brown part. If you put your hands on the white part, the ball goes further.

It’s amazing what this kid picks up. But that’s not the point… The point is that he’s playing sports, having a great time and developing a love of sports. (And, yes dad, learning all those important lessons about teams while will be so useful to him throughout his life.)

But if Andrew decides football is his sport rather than baseball, someone’s going to need to teach me the game. Any volunteers?

The Perfect Pumpkin

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Jack was invited to a birthday party that was held at a local Pumpkin Patch.  He was so excited for this party; for the fall fun and for the cupcakes.  I was excited for the party as well since I has been planning on making a visit to the pumpkin patch anyway.

We arrived at the party and the first thing Jack spotted was the large pumpkin bounce house.  I swear those things are a magnet to him.  It never fails that he will get a least two bruises when he is finally done bouncing.  That particular time he came out with six.  I know he loves them and his huge smile makes it so hard to cut his time short.  Luckily, there were many other activities for him to participate in.  There were sack races, (pretend) horse races, pony rides, a corn maze and our favorite was the hay ride.

Unfortunately, it’s nothing shy of 85 degrees here.  With the heat and the bright sun, it was hard to get into the fall mode.  We took a short hay ride and arrived at the “patch.”  This year the drought was so bad that all the pumpkins the farm grew died and withered away.  The farm had to buy store bought pumpkins and scatter them over their fields for the children to pick.  Pretty funny if you ask me, but what else do you do when you have several birthday parties to prepare for?  The kids had a blast and didn’t notice.

As we walked out to the patch, Jack stopped me and specifically told me, “Mommy, I need to find the perfect pumpkin.”  He quickly turned around and ran to find the most perfect pumpkin of them all.  He searched and searched and finally found the best one.  He was so excited to show his father and me that he ended up tripping in the field and landed yet another bruise.  Boys will be boys, right?

It melts my heart to see Jack so happy. He will forever be my “perfect pumpkin.”

Degrees of Separation

Monday, October 18th, 2010

OK, I will be the first to admit – I am “one of those moms.” I like to see it all, never miss a moment, make every practice, put my child ahead of myself. While I realize this may not always be the best practice, old habits are hard to break (although as Brady has gotten older, I have gotten better). I was married for the first 3.5 years of my son’s life and never spent more than about 5 hours away from Brady. Of course my marriage was far from normal, but this blog is about my love (and attachment) to my son. Once we divorced, I was given full custody. His father still sees him, but we still aren’t apart very much. He does spend the night 1-2 nights each month, which was an adjustment. But I have come to enjoy those few quiet times.

Then I took on a new job, this job requires some travel. Once each month I travel a few hours to a staff meeting all day. The first month was a bit exhilarating, to be honest. I actually enjoy the professional conversation. I have had to travel a few times (Texas, Denver, and Washington, D.C.). Each trip was a few days, and Brady came along (with his nannies – Mamaw and Papa).

This week I am taking my first “solo” trip without Brady. So this will be the first time that I will ever miss a day of his life. I will be gone a bit over 48-hours. I know he is almost five years old and will be fine. I thought about taking him along with me for the short trip. But the realist in me knows that it is best for Brady to stick to his regular routine of preschool, church, play dates, and other stuff. So although I will miss the little man like crazy, he will be in good hands. Personally I am dreading leaving him, however, I have a few books and movies (with Brady’s DVD player). I plan to enjoy my first adult alone time in over five years.

As Brady grows each year, I notice another piece of me letting go of him and allowing him to find his own wings. I know this is all a healthy part of parenting, but it still stinks how quickly they grow up and move on to the next chapter of their lives. But our job as parents is to raise up future adults, not keep them little (as much as we may want to). All we can do is hope that we raise the future generation with common sense, integrity, good values, and knowing that we love them and believe in them.

Introducing the Bed Fairy

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Bedtime is interesting in our house.  There are nights that Andrew wants to put on his cowboy hat and dance around to music from cars (Life is a Highway and Real Gone are the main requests) before he’s willing to think about bed.  Or he wants to hide a million times from the daddy monster who is coming to tickle him.  Like I said, we have some interesting bedtime rituals.

Andrew has started getting up in the middle of the night and wandering into our room.  He somehow has figured out how to escape from bed, open his door and open ours. He’s pretty quiet about it, but it’s pretty freaky to wake up out of a dead sleep to see two huge eyes staring out at you from the other side of the bed.  The other night it scared me so badly I started screaming, which of course, made Andrew start bawling his eyes out, and it took us both the better part of an hour to get calm down enough to get back to sleep.

I was telling my friend about this and she nodded in the “been there, done that” kind of way.  Then she said, “You need a bed fairy.”  Never having heard of one of those before, I asked what it was and where I could get one. “I created her.  My daughter sometimes still does the same thing.  So I created Bella the Bed Fairy.  If Taylor (who is now 4) stays in her own bed all night long, Bella comes to visit and leaves her presents.”  The presents were whatever she could pick up cheaply – silly putty, stickers, a pen, ANYTHING to keep her kid in bed.

So I got home from work last night and told Andrew that I had received a visit from Bob the Bed Fairy. (Terribly creative name, I know.  But I figured he likes Bob the Builder.  He’d probably like Bob the Bed Fairy.)  I went on to explain that Bob heard how Andrew didn’t like to stay in bed at night and that he promised to come and leave Andrew a present if he stayed in bed all night.  Andrew put one hand on his hip and said, “Mommy.  What you talkin’ ‘bout?”

My guy’s a hard sell on some things… So then I told him that his girlfriend Taylor gets visits from Bob’s friend Bella if SHE stays in bed all night.  That got Andrew.  “I don’t want cars, mommy.  Can Bob bring me books?” he asked.   SURE sweetheart.  Bob can bring all kinds of things.

This morning, Andrew came into our room around 7, looking upset.  “Mommy.  Bob the Bed Fairy didn’t leave present.”  (What can I say? He got up before I could sneak into his room.)  So I quickly ran in, slipped something under his pillow and asked Andrew if he had checked under his pillows.  He threw his toys on the ground and excitedly climbed up onto his bed, throwing the pillows to the ground.  “SILLY BANDS?  BOB GIVE ME SILLY BANDS! I WANT A BOOK!”

Oops.  Guess we have to stock up on some books… but if that’s what it takes, Bob can leave Andrew many, many books and we can all get some sleep!


Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

I made the mistake of telling Jack that Christmas was just around the corner.  I’ve been using the “Santa is watching you” phrase when he chooses to whine or throw fits.  Fortunately, his attitude improves when I tell him this, but his questions about Santa get harder and harder to answer.

Jack’s latest interests are cars and trucks, especially the matchbox type.  When we are out and about and he sees a car or truck he likes (which is just about every single one) he tells me he wants to get it.  I told him to start a Christmas list and maybe Santa would bring him one.  He listened to me and he now has a Christmas list that currently has 52 items on it.  He makes me write down every car/truck every color and every size he wants (along with many other “really cool” things).

It is sweet that he is excited about his list, but at this rate the list will be out of control by Thanksgiving.  My husband pointed out that you only get a few years of 100% Santa belief out of your kids, so we might as well use it to our advantage.  Ultimately my husband is right. Jack will outgrow it some year and we will long for his 52 item list again. So I won’t complain. I will just keep on writing for him.  This will be something I keep and show him when he is 16.

Honesty (and some embarrassment)

Monday, October 11th, 2010

I have always encouraged Brady to tell the truth – no matter what. He has also always been a typical only child: very rule abiding. While these things are a blessing, they also have gotten a bit embarrassing lately. For example, we were sitting at a local diner, where the booths are very close. We were there with one of his friends and her mom. They got up to go to the bathroom. Brady looked straight ahead and said rather loudly, “mama, I feel really sad for that man.” I looked up and he was talking about a man about 4 feet away from us. I leaned over quietly and sad “Brady, why do you feel sad for that man?” Then Brady looks at him, looks at me, and then back at the man and said “well mama, he is old – – he is soon going to die.”

At this point I wanted to crawl under the booth, instead I just prayed the man didn’t hear him, told Brady (quietly) that I was sure the man was fine and wasn’t going to die, and then quickly asked how his grilled cheese was. Thankfully he didn’t talk about the man again and our friends quickly returned to the booth.

The same week Brady was out to dinner with my parents at a local buffet. My mom took him to the bathroom. Apparently another woman was in the bathroom too. As Brady was washing his hands, the other woman came out of the large back stall and proceeded to the door to leave. My son (the rule abider) yelled: “WAIT LADY, you didn’t wash your hands?” The lady kindly explained that she had washed her hands and there was a sink in her stall. Brady said “well, I didn’t see you wash your hands. Hold on a second and let me check and make sure there was a sink in your potty area.” Thankfully the lady was nice and just smiled as Brady went and inspected the situation. My mom apologized to the lady and talked to Brady about why he shouldn’t ask an adult if he/she washed their hands, etc..

Many times I hear stories about an adult not wearing a helmet on a bike, a seatbelt in a car, or saying a” bad” word. In fact, if I pull into the driveway and unclick my seatbelt before I completely turn off the ignition…. I hear about it from my backseat driver.

While I am glad that Brady is very rule abiding and tells the truth (to everyone), at times I wonder how to tactfully teach him when it is best to whisper his concerns to me (or his grandparents). I guess this is one of the many challenging of parenting: teaching your child to be honest, but also when it is best to say nothing. I guess this is a learned skill. Although I must admit Brady does offer us many funny stories to share and smiles behind our embarrassed faces.

Blast from the past

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Growing up, one of my favorite things about October was not Halloween. (I proudly wore my “this is my costume” t-shirt through most of my middle school and high school years.) Instead, every year, I would look forward to the Harvest Festival.

It had all the great (read: really bad for you) festival foods… the sausage and peppers, funnel cake, snow cones and caramel apples. It had awesome rides. My favorite was the huge slide that you would ride down on a potato sack so you would go extra fast. It had a petting zoo and hay rides.

Even though I haven’t been to a Harvest Festival in over 10 years, I still remember the last one. It poured rain – so badly that they closed down hours early. When I came home from college in October my freshman year, I was so disappointed to learn that they weren’t doing the festival anymore.

Until this year…

My mom emailed me a couple weeks ago telling me that they were bringing the festival back. Instead of being a weekend long event, it was only one day, but I didn’t care. I was so excited to be able to share one of my favorite memories with Andrew (and Hubby, who has heard me lament the shutting down on the festival on more than one occasion).

Andrew just thought that we were going up to see my parents, who just got back from a trip to Italy. We had to tear him away from his trains and bike races, but he had a great time. We played at the petting zoo, feeding sheep, rams and even a big cow. Andrew went through this fun house about 30 times – he raced through ball pits, up cargo nets, ran across a rickety bridge and slid down a massive slide.

Although he steadfastly refused to get his face painted, he begged for a pumpkin on his cheek after meeting a cute (older) girl who was sporting one on her right cheek. Luckily, he didn’t see the dessert tent and actually ate a hot dog, one bite at a time as a condition for getting back on line for the fun house.

The festival was a bit scaled down, but I am so glad they brought it back. Hopefully they continue the tradition next year so we can continue to share it with Andrew.