Thursday, August 28, 2008

The great stay at home debate

I have mixed feelings towards stay at home moms. Part of me is jealous that I don't have this option, but the other part of me is pretty sure that I would go bananas if I had to attempt to survive toddler antics all day every day.

The thing I definitely don't enjoy are the stay at home moms that judge working moms. There are plenty of mom blogs from these ladies who freely caste their judgment on us working moms. And I'm not saying that stay at home moms don't work hard...I get it, you clean and take care of kids all day long and yes, it's a job. But don't insinuate that working moms somehow care less about our kids or that we are not concerned with nurturing our young ones, in a lot of our cases, staying at home just was not in the hand we were dealt. Some of us even choose to work. It shows our children independence and hard work.

There was an incident a couple of weeks ago after church that sparked this post. I had noticed that a MOPS group was forming for the fall; however the group meets on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. After the church service, the group had a sign up table set up outside. I walked over and asked the lady tending to the table if they had ever considered an evening meeting time for working mothers. She looked at me like I had spoken some sort of evil and snorted "We did think about it once, but then we decided, well, you know - majority rules! I think there may be a group at other churches in the area."


I mean really?

I wanted to smack her.

Then I decided that wouldn't be very "Christianly" of me.

O, but I wanted to smack her.

So, we left and I played her remarks over and over in my mind. I went through feeling sorry for myself because I'm not part of the "majority". Then I went through the snotty phase of wanting to ask her if she intentionally married into money so that she could sit back and eat bon bons everyday.

I digress.

Kudos to all of the moms out there who are able to stay at home and raise their children.

And to those of us who work 50 hours a week, keep our homes in working order and still raise some pretty spectacular kids - hold your heads high and pat yourselves on the back for being able to do it all!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wake Up with Sesame Street

Thank you Sesame Street for making me smile in the morning with this little ditty...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Farewell Olympics

Our home has been consumed by the Olympics for the past two weeks. Partially due to the fact that we are a sports family and by we I mean the three others that live with me. The other part is that we don' brace yourself...

We don't have cable.

Some other day, I'll post my opinions on having cable/satellite, but for now, back to the Olympics.

I have enjoyed watching the kids get excited about new sports and trying to mimic every world class performance. They have gone from wanting to be gymnasts to pro-volleyball players.

What I have not enjoyed, were the non stop Budweiser commercials. I recognize that somebody has to foot the bill, but they ran constantly. So much so, that when the commercials came on, the entire neighborhood could hear my kids belt out...


Now, since neither A nor I are big drinkers, the kids have no idea what beer is. It's also nice that they have yet to come to me and ask why Buzz Light Year is continually getting hopped up on beer and folks are singing about it.

Friday, August 22, 2008


There are certain elements of the kids being "babies" that I cherish and want to hold on to.

The cuddles.

The bedtime stories.

The being able to kiss it and make it better.

There is really only one thing that I have been desperate to get past.

Poo in the potty.

Baby Bear has struggled with this one for a LONG time. Quite frankly, it's disgusting. But FINALLY last night, he announced that it was "time".

He tried on the main floor toilet, and it wouldn't work. So I suggested the toilet in his bathroom. We made the trek up stairs. Again, it wouldn't work. Back down the stairs.

After I left to make a grocery run. It happened. And thank God for A's addiction to capturing everything in pictures, because these are hilarious...

This has been how I've felt over the past year of trying to get him to do this...

Sweet Success!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Building traditions

I think traditions are a big part of what make you a family. Whether your family includes you and a dog or you and your five kids, traditions are part of what make you unique. It is sort of like a long standing inside joke, not everyone will get it, but it always makes you smile.

When A and I were dating, we started our own little traditions. As we’ve grown our little family, we have continued to add to our list of traditions.

One of our family traditions is making the annual trek to the state fair. It’s very Midwestern and hick and country and every year I look forward to it.

When we lived in Minnesota, the state fair was a really big deal. Up there, it is not surrounded by the stigma associated with state fair. In fact, you are a little weird if you don’t have plans to go to the fair. We even made our trip to the fair when I was 8 months pregnant with Mooka. Grant it, I’m pretty sure I complained the entire time we were there and did not view the trip as part of any tradition, but rather my attempt to get that child out of me.

Living in Illinois, folks definitely have a different reaction when you mention going to the fair. That has not stopped us from continuing our little tradition. So, this past weekend we loaded up and headed off to enjoy the fair.

Some of the highlights included

Watching Dock Dogs

Learning how to "milk" a cow

Checking out the livestock

Countless goofy photo ops

Arts and crafts time at the 4-H display

And of course, the rides.

But the Pièce de résistance the Butter Cow...

We all had a great time. It was a really long day and I'm glad because the memory will last forever.

So go ahead, try it. Find something goofy that you think is fun and just go for it. You might just make your own tradition along the way.

Monday, August 18, 2008

New 'do

Last Friday, I was having a bad hair day, so I decided to whack off all of my hair. This is not an uncommon practice for me as I am in a perpetual cycle of grow hair out, cut hair off. The last time I chopped it all off, the kids were too young to notice. I knew it was coming so I had asked Mooka if she would mind if I cut my hair. She said, no mommy, I think it would look beautiful. So off I went to the salon to get my new 'do.

When I arrived to pick the kids up from school, I was met with the following reaction:

Mooka took one look and fell to the floor in tears.

Baby Bear got close, examined me for a while and then responded with "Mommy, you need to take a shower and get that hair off."

Just the reaction one wants to receive when making a drastic change to one's appearance. And with my last ounce of self-esteem, we loaded up the bus (as they have now lovingly renamed mini) and headed home.

Mooka didn't speak the entire ride home and Baby Bear just kept saying "Drive faster, you need to take a shower."

The weekend was a long one. Mooka has started to come around, although she's not shy about announcing to anyone who will listen how much she dislikes my hair. Baby Bear makes sure I know that I need to take a shower to "get that hair off."

There's nothing in the world like your own "Stacy and Clinton" to cheer you up in the morning.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bed head

I had to take a picture this morning of the old baby bed, because yes, I'm getting rid of it. I couldn't resist these two bed head shots.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

That crazy DNA

When our kids were born, we both agreed that we would not try to say which traits of ours each child was blessed with. We believe that they were each created in their own unique way and there was no need to "classify" them as mine or yours. But, as they've gotten older, certain characteristics cannot be ignored.

For example, Mooka...

She has
A's eyes
and my smile
A's athletic ability
and my sense of humor
A's hair
and my singing voice

What, my singing voice you ask? For those of you that know me, my singing voice is quite enchanting. It's best enjoyed by myself in the shower and should only be shared with those I love.

And Mooka LOVES to sing. As LOUD as she can.

She recently discovered Disney's The Little Mermaid. She goes around the house and does the "ah, Ah, AHHHH" all day long. She's also recently decided that she only wants to take showers (must be the acoustics.) So nightly, we get to listen to 15 minutes of ah, AH, AHHHHH.

The other night we went out to eat. There was a nice young couple sitting behind us. You could tell it was young love, as they sat next to each other in the booth rather than across from each other. Mooka realizes the young lovers behind us and announces that she's going to sing to them. Before I could stop her, it had already started "ah, Ah, AHHHHHHHHHHH."

And then it went to repeat.

And again.

By now the entire half of the restaurant was looking our way. Since A had gotten up to go to the restroom, I saw no need to stop her. So she continued to entertain our section of the restaurant until it was time for us to leave.

Someday my baby will be on Broadway!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How's your hot chocolate?

Since I've had kids, God has been working on my attitude towards having "things". I used to want the nicest car, have the most fashionable clothes and wanted to live the best of the American dream. Today, I drive a 10 year old car (and I love it), rarely shop at anyplace that does not sell used clothes and could care less about keeping up with the Jones'.

As my kids grow, I care less and less about things for myself and want them to experience life to the fullest. Not a life that is ruled by having stuff, but a life that is full of experiences, love, and encouragement to try new things.

Today, a friend sent me this little story and it was just the encouragement I needed. I hope you enjoy!

Wisdom in Hot Chocolate
(Author Unknown)

A group of graduates, well-established in their career, were talking at a reunion and decided to visit their old university professor, now retired.

During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work and lives.

Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups — porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain-looking, some expensive, some exquisite — telling them to help themselves to the hot chocolate.

When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor said: “Notice that the nice-looking, expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. The cup you’re drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate. In most cases, it is just more expensive, and in some cases, even hides what we drink.

“What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup. But you consciously went for the best cups. And then, you began eyeing each other’s cups. Now, consider this: Life is the hot chocolate; your money, job, position in society are the cups. They are just the tools to hold and contain life. The cup you have does not define nor change the quality of life you have. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate God has provided us. God made the hot chocolate; man chooses the cup. The happiest of people do not have everything. They make the best of everything they have.”

Monday, August 11, 2008

My talented family

My Aunt Sissy is amazingly talented. She has been digital scrap booking for years and has truly mastered her art.

This weekend she sent me this page of the kids from their fishing trip.

Huge thank you goes out to her for putting this together!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Feeling badgered?

Huge thank you goes out to my friend at DivorcedDadsMatter for sharing these links with me. It highlights nicely the car buying experience; but I am please to announce, I was not badgered this week!


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rite of Passage

I did it.

I finally became "that" mom.

I am a mini-van owner.

It was long overdue. My other car, God rest her soul, had been dying a very slow painful death. The car had been my sister's, she passed it on to my dad, who passed it on to me so she's been in the family for a long time. "Bertha" as I lovingly call her has 249K miles on her. She has a whole laundry list of issues. Recently, she had started playing this fun game of "how-many-times-can-I-stop-on-the-way-to-work." Our average was 6, keep in mind, it is a seven mile trip. Occasionally, Bertha would emit smoke from the steering wheel. Not like an I'm-on-fire smoke, but more of an a-little-more-of my-electrical-system-just-gave-out smoke. I always had visions of the air bag deploying whenever that would happen. She had an enduring squeak whenever the driver side door would open. I would just smile at passer-bys and shout "I'm bringing sexy back." She served me well, but it was just time for her to rest.

And now I'm big pimpin' in my mini.

I used to be one of those people who swore I would never ever drive a mini-van. For goodness sakes, they make SUVs to haul around children. After having one SUV with our kids and realizing that it's really just a car with a bigger trunk, I knew there was only one solution. So I swallowed my pride and opted for the mini.

I think all moms end up joining the mini cult after a period of time. It's just inevitable. Kids, no matter how small they are, take up a lot of space. And they kick. And they fight with each other. Having a mini makes puts them far enough away from the driver and other passengers, that trips across town become enjoyable again. You begin to see other drivers. You don't miss as many turns. You actually notice that your blinker has been on for the last 2 miles.

Call me what you like, I'll be rockin' to Ani DiFranco in my new mini-van and holding my head high!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Fishing and turkey calls

A few weeks ago, Baby Bear woke up and instead of asking his normal question about whether it was school or church day, he announced that he wanted to go fishing. Completely random comment, as neither A nor I are the outdoor sports type. What to do?

Call home.

My dad and brother both love fishing. One of my favorite childhood memories was having my dad teach me how to fish. Another favorite memory is of a trip wherein my sister, brother, me and my dog Bailey all took off in a Jon boat for an afternoon of fishing, but I don't think we actually took fishing gear(that story just makes me smile.)

So my dad and step-mom came to the rescue today. We agreed to all meet up in one of those small don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it towns. They were waiting with brand new Spiderman and Barbie fishing rods.

The kids had an absolute blast. Mooka was the first to catch a fish. After about 30 minutes, it became quite obvious that she is cut from the same mold as her grandfather and uncle. She was casting like a pro and showed amazing patience while waiting for her first catch.

Shortly afterwards, Baby Bear also reeled one in. He would have been just as happy to stand there and toss the practice fly into the lake all morning. For him, it was just a contest to see who could throw it the worms the farthest.

In an attempt to help Baby Bear catch another one, I volunteered to cast the line. I was so excited to catch something on the first try. I anxiously handed the rod over to him. As he was reeling it in, it got caught up in the rocks. Being the avid outdoors gal that I am, I went over to untangle the line - thinking that the fish had long sense gone on it's way.

And then, out of nowhere, the killer blue gill lunged at my jugular. In an attempt to call for help, the only thing that came out of my mouth was some sort of wild turkey call. Fortunately A has heard this cry for help before, the same noise came out earlier this summer when we uncovered our pool and discovered a bloated dead frog. And with all of his manliness, he came to my rescue. Actually, it played out more like this...

A - What is wrong with you?
A - Are you kidding me?
A - Let me get the camera.

Killer fish aside, everyone had a great morning and I'm sure the kids will be talking about it for a long time to come.