Friday, July 31, 2009

Pee Goes Outside

I had something else in mind this morning to write, but as I started typing, my sweet Little Dude came up and asked me if he could pee outide.

My natural reaction, was WHY and a huge reminder that we were INSIDE.

"Yes," he replied, (as though that was just OBVIOUS). "But you see, we are going to play golf. And golf is outside".

Logical, yes? I have to say, he is rather logical.

So I started the questioning, "Do you need to go potty?" "No". "Are you sure?" "Yep".

"So, why do you want to Pee outside?"

"Beacuse it is SO FUN!"

And while I don't really know the joy of peeing outside that guys seem to enjoy (usually when I do it, it is because there is just NO BATHROOM ANYWHERE. That includes outside gas staion bathrooms, I NEVER use those. My bathrooms must be inside, where they might be sorta clean, but I digress)I have to agree, that doing things just for the fun of it is something I have lost. I get so caught up in what we are learning, when I do things with our children. Is this educaitonal? Is it teaching them something? Are they going to pick up this skill by doing that project? In kid movies (it's an educational video). Playdough? Gross Motor Skills! We need this toy so we can work on Fine Motor Skills! Perhaps I feel more pressure that my children should have accomplished skills since I used to teach preschool.

But I have lost the FUN in the events.

And what did we do? I let my son pee outside in the bush by our patio. Gross? Maybe, but for him it was SO FUN. And I didn't try to turn it into a lesson. I need to make sure I focus on doing fun things, just for the fun of it, more often.

Just another lesson I have learned from my children.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Life With A Fish

So far we have done well with Red the Fish! Two tank cleanings, a little incident where half the fish food ended up on the couch and so far Red is still doing well.

Though I did recently find out that beta fish only live around 6 months-at the most, so I am already trying to think, should our lovely Red end up being belly up one morning, what is the best thing to do.

Little Dude will be 3 in September, so I think he will understand death, but at the same time, I hate to have him lose something he is enjoying so much. And what if he doesn't understand? How do I explain it to him?

But at the same time, I wonder if I would be able to switch in a new "Red" beta and Little Dude be none the wiser.

Hmmm, a little bit of pondering to do, but hopefully Red will be with us for the next 6 months.

And if not, then I guess we will just figure it out. That is what this whole parenting thing is about, right?

Just one day at a time, figuring it out as we swim along.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Blue Angel's Show

As I was going through my photos, desperately searching for an updated family photo, I realized I had not shared photos from our great boat trip to see the Blue Angels Air Show!

You will notice though, that I still don't have an updated family photo on here. The old one from LAST 4th of July is still there-yea, the kids are a year older now, I have finally lost all the baby weight and gotten a little more sleep, and Bill, well, my Bill is just amazing and perfect, so really I just need to update me and the kids. You now know that I have NO photos of the 4 of us together, much to my dismay, since it seems like I have thousands of us not all together on my computer. Mental note for me to jump on that.

But, I digress.

As I browsed through photos, I came across these great ones and realized that I had talked up going to see the airshow with tons of friends and family, but had never shared pictures! So, without further ado, here are some photos:

Here is my man, Bill, and I know it sounds gush-y, but after knowing him for 8 years and being married for over 5 now, I just feel luckier and luckier that everyday I get to wake up next to him. I know, I warned you, gush-y! And he is holding our awesome little toddler, Little Dude, who is growing too quickly for my liking. He will be 3 in September. I'm sad and happy at the same time. In his hands? His shark friend, dutifully named "Shark". He was originally a cheap toy at Target, that I bought with the sole intention that IF he got lost at the beach ("Shark", not Little Dude) then it would be no big deal to replace him. Wouldn't you know that "Shark" must now go everywhere with us? Apparently the best $1 I have ever spent...
Here are the fabulous friends we went with-l to r: Scott, (with son Cole), Bill (with Little Dude), Tim, Melissa (Scott's wife and Cole's mom), Gigi (on the boat), and Tim and Gigi's daughter, Amanda (also on the boat). I know, I got everyone's backs, but there was no way I was taking my camera into the water with me to get their faces. The noise from the air show was so loud I don't even think they would have heard me had I yelled for them to look at me.

So what is an air show? Well, from what I understand, the Blue Angels are an elite team of fighter pilots who can do AMAZING tricks in their planes.

And though they are far away in the sky, those pilots are flying just feet away from each other. It was really breathtaking and scary to watch. My heart stopped a million times (well, maybe just 12).
Here is JR, mad because I made him leave the boat buttons alone. We were so excited to go out on Scott's boat, and even though they all said he couldn't break anything, you just never know.

And I can't swim that well. So I was paranoid about the boat sinking, though if you look at the group photo up above, everyone is standing.

I know, I'm irrational, but as a short, red headed, country-mountain raised, non swimming, woman, I'm allowed a little irrational thinking.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Stalking BlogHer09

If you are pretty active in the blog world, you might have heard about a little blogging conference that took place over the weekend in the amazing city of Chicago.

There were amazing parties and tons of amazing freebies, like washer and dryers, laptops, salon and spa treatments! (I'm not jealous though, I had a grand time playing putt putt).

People got to meet Paula Dean (OK, now I am a little jealous, but only a little) and in true stalker fashion, I followed the tweets as closely as possible in between folding laundry. And vacuuming. And doing dishes. Man, my house is clean right now!

Anyways, I am hopeful I can go next year to the conference, so I can meet up with some of my favorite bloggers, while enjoying some GREAT blogging, technology information, business tips and networking advice.

So, here is my shameless plug: if you are a company looking to have a blogger represent you at the BlogHer 10 conference in New York City (squeal!) feel free to contact me, because I would LOVE to talk about how great your company is in exchange for the chance to meet Tim Gunn. And Paula Dean. And get a makeover.

And hopefully, instead of stalking BlogHer 10, I'll be in the middle of it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What's Up Buttercup

There is not a lot going on today, and yet, at the same time there is. Coordinated Chaos is all around me, as I get the boys dressed for the day, eventually get them outside to play, or rush to find a potty for my toddler when he HAS.TO.GO.NOW.

It's what motherhood and parenting is all about. The Chaos, the Craziness, and the vast joy that comes from surrendering to the silly giggle requests to "Make the googy gloppy face again!", instead of worryig about the never ending pile of "to-dos".

I've debated a lot lately about when the time might be right to try for a third child, and selfishly, if I think too much about it, I start counting how long it will be before I fianlly "get a real job". Or when Bill and I will have two full paychecks coming.

I think about how long it will be, if we were lucky enough to get pregnant now, before we can take the kids to Disney World and have everyone old enough to enjoy it. How long it will be before a trip to see my parents (5 hours from our NC home) might not involve screams and cries and tons of dirty diapers but instead focus on road trip games.

I think about how adding another baby will delay reaching all these things by a good three years. And I think how if we have another, perhaps we should also try for a fourth and try to avoid "the middle" for JR. That will make it almost 6 years....

But then, in the midst of my more self centered thinking, my "baby" starts walking across the room all by himself to reach a toy, while his big brother plays cars with him. And for once they are ignoring me, as I sit quietly and watch them hug and giggle and play.

So, I forget all the thinking I had been doing and quickly switch gears to what the best layout will be for adding that third carseat to the van, where exactly I packed my maternity clothes, and how cute matching bedding for the boys' bedroom would be, cause, you know, I think I'm going to be needing that nursury for baby number 3.....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Bridge Builder

Below is a poem one of my early education teachers gave us while we were working on lesson plans. It is a great one for teachers, but really, parents are the most important teachers, don't you think? Whenever I feel frustrated, or overloaded, between getting work done, keeping up with the kids,and keeping the house clean (is it ever?), I break out this poem.

The Bridge Builder

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came at the evening, cold and gray,
To chasm, vast and deep and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,
"You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide --
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?"
The builder lifted his old gray head:
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pit-fall be,
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him."
-written by Will Allen Dromgoole, around the year: 1900

Monday, July 20, 2009

Baby Mine

Mothers need support, help, and most of all, understanding, during the wonderful years of raising a child. It can often feel though, as though there is nothing but criticism coming our ways.

Are you breast feeding? No? You should be.

Are you bottle feeding? No? That's why he is so skinny! He's not getting enough to eat!

Are you co-sleeping? No? You should be.

You ARE co-sleeping? You're weird.

You let your baby have a sip of soda? That will rot his teeth.

You don't practice attachment parenting? It is so wonderful, why wouldn't you?

You wear your baby every time he cries? That's why he is so clingy.

As much as I crave getting out of the house and finding moms to hang out with, sometimes it can just be too much. The constant bombardment of criticism. I have one set of friends that do full on attachment parenting, and a set that thinks attachment parenting is odd. A set that thinks hospitals are horrible places to have babies, and a set that think it is crazy to have a home birth.

I often find my own ideas to run in the middle of both groups; however, when I am with one group or the other, I tend to "hide" the part of my parenting style that gets criticized.

Because I don't want to be criticized; I want to be thought of as a good mom.

Like all of us moms, we want to be good moms. We want other people to smile and say "What a great job you are doing; all your hard work is really amazing!"

But often, our greatest critics are our fellow moms, who really should be our greatest allies. We should realize how very hard it is for a new mom to go out to the mall for the first time, and not laugh at her. How very hard it is for the mom of 4 to get all 4 to walk nicely side by side. And how very hard and stressful it can be when deciding how to discipline in public. 'Cause we know that half the people think you should be spanking your little love bug and the other half think that the "stern talk" you gave them was much too harsh.

So today, moms, let us give each other a challenge-let's make an effort to comfort a mom (or dad!)-give her affirmation instead of criticism. Let her know that you understand the million different things pulling on her today.

Let her know that SHE is the mom of HER baby for a reason-she is the best person to raise that child, and no one else can judge but her what is the best for her child.

As long as you and your baby are healthy and happy, then your parenting style is perfect for you.

And just keep telling yourself: This Baby is Mine and I'm doing a great job.

Friday, July 17, 2009

99 Balloons

So Oprah is a show I love watching and I do actually try to get the kids occupied with activities so I can watch-yes, I love Oprah.

A few weeks ago, I watched the Miracle Children and Celine show and learned about little Elliot.

Elliot's parents were told he would not survive past birth, and so they celebrated the 99 days of his life with letters and photos, which they turned into the video below. Inspiring, amazing, and a true testament to celebrating life.

I hope that no matter what happens in life, I'm always able to find a way to celebrate and find the joys.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

One Fish, Two Fish

We have a new pet! Little Dude has gotten old enough that Bill and I decided a low maintenance pet would be perfect for him to care for, so we took a family trip to the local pet store.

And we found this cute little guy:

Since I'm crazy, I agreed that adding the weekly cleaning of a fish tank to the list of things I do around here would be a piece of cake. Actually, I really am excited about it (though let us be honest-it may not get cleaned every single week). My favorite college roomies (Joey and Susan) and I shared a fish tank while we lived together and it was SO FUN. We even had a water frog, a white crawfish guy and some Mickey Mouse fish-yes, those were mine-but I digress.

Anyways, as soon as we had purchased our new family member, (he is a beta fish if anyone is wondering) we decided we would let Little Dude pick out a name for him.

Little did we realize we had opened a can of worms with that one. He suggested names like, Construction Worker Man, Fire Engine Truck, Taco Bell, Red Lobster, (as I mentioned before, my son is an advertiser's dream).

So we did our best to try to guide Little Dude to a name that may not take 5 minutes to say, or involve fast food. We also had to rule out all Thomas the Train names, as that started to lead to conversations about our fish riding on the trains, or the trains visiting him in the tank, and I could only see bad things happening from there.

In the end? His name is Red. He is peaceful, calm and super fun to watch as he fans his tail. Little Dude is also getting a kick out of feeding him each morning and letting the kids watch the fish eat as I fix their breakfast has been fabulous for me. Getting Red has drastically cut down the amount of time the boys spend tugging on my legs, so all the time it takes to clean his tank is worth it.

Here is Little Dude getting Red's fish home all set up. I caught some on video too that I will try to find the time to upload tomorrow-now it seems I need to go, as instead of the nice quiet of nap time, I am hearing hysterical giggles....

Monday, July 13, 2009

Lucky 13

13 Months on the 13th! I really can't believe time is flying so quickly. So on that note, I'm going to jump off the computer now and take the boys to the park. Perhaps, for just a few minutes, I can make time seem to slow down for at least a few minutes.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Save the Last Dance For Me

I have a little dancer:

We went to The Shed Barbecue and Blues Joint in Ocean Springs, Mississippi a few weekends ago and it was so fun. I loved the live band and a REALLY loved watching JR groove to the music. He danced the whole time we were there!

Little Dude was content the whole time with his food and playing in the dirt ( I never realized just how dirty little boys can be) and it was fun to listen to his imaginative play.

The Shed was pretty awesome-amazing food-and everything there looked like it had been pulled from the garbage. Seriously, there were chairs with desk tops that looked like they had come out of a school, and there were roles of paper towels to use for clean up. It was the perfect place to take two little boys to eat!

If you happen to be down this way, I would suggest going to The Shed for dinner, but be sure to go later in the day when it is cool so you can sit outside and enjoy the band.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Walk Like A Man

My Little JR is walking! Well, he still needs some help, but every day he stands a little longer unassisted, and walks a little further between the furniture.

Now he is walking fast along the walks, and crawling less and less.

My baby is growing up, making me very happy, and very sad all at the same time.

Also, if you watch to the end, you'll see my elusive Little Dude, hiding in the bathtub, because apparently I am like the paparazzi and he has to hide from my cameras.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th Of July from Mobile

We had a great time out boating around the Gulf Shores area with some of Bill's co-workers. All the kids that came did great and were so super cute in their life jackets, too!

Today I had planned on sharing a video of my toddler reciting "The Pledge of Allegiance", but as you can see, there is no video.

We practiced all week long, saying the pledge a few times a day, and Little Dude has done GREAT memorizing it and being able to say it with only a little prompting. I am super proud of him. And we even got the hand-on-heart part going, too.

So, I felt he knew it well enough to get it on tape-but every time I pulled out the Flip, Little Dude would shut down and walk away. Not only would he NOT say the pledge or put his hand on his heart, he wouldn't even look at me.

Sigh. Toddlerhood.

Anyways, we did work on it, and he does, for the most part have it down, but for now my toddler is not doing any photos, so maybe later. In the meantime, we are going to eat a fun flag cake I made, cook out hamburgers, and check out the best place for fireworks here on the Gulf Coast! I'm super super excited for the boys to see the fireworks. Little Dude lost it last year-just like me-and was just amazed with them. Last 4th was our first family outing after JR was born-he was only a few weeks old at the time-so I am really excited to see how he enjoys the celebration this year.

And I'll work on getting another family photo together so I can finally update the one I have on here that was taken last year before the fireworks started.

Happy Fourth Of July to all of you from my family!