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Archive for the ‘kids’ Category

Well, I haven’t been blogging as much as I have in the past.  If you want to know why…it’s because I joined my best friend from law school, Julie, and started blogging with her.  We’ve got this great blog/website:

mommyesquire.com

“We’re Moms.  We’re Lawyers.  We’re Your In-house Counsel.”

Check us out and see what the fuss is all about.  It’s fun and informative.  We’re taking your issues and offering free advice.  We’re reviewing everything from lip balm to overnight diapers.

Why?  Because we can.

What makes us think we are experts?  We don’t know.  Does having six kids between us count?  How about two undergraduate degrees, two law degrees, and one pageant title?

Who are we?

Julie - Creator of mommyesquire.com

Julie - Creator of mommyesquire.com

This is Julie:

Creator of mommyesquire.com
Working mom
Mother of three
Likes: reading, jogging, cooking, traveling, hiding from her children
Dislikes: cleaning, incorrect grammar, people who dress their little girls like skanks
Dreamed of being a Court TV anchor after law school
Voted “Most Likely to Achieve”…or should have been

Likes…no, loves…wine

Kim: Co-creator of mommyesquire.com

Kim: Co-creator of mommyesquire.com

This is Kim:

Co-creator of mommyesquire.com
Stay at home mom
Mother of three boys
Likes: reading, sewing, shopping, making her kids push her on the tire swing
Dislikes: people who don’t write thank you notes, sassy children, the smell of Polo cologne
Dreamed of being a non-profit lawyer and “helping people”….(yeah, now I’m in-house counsel to three very indigent clients).
Voted most likely to wear pink to court.
Has a raging case of ADHD…and a vegetarian.

So, come visit us at mommyesquire.com and have a laugh…all at our expense.  Enjoy!

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Honey, I know youre busy giving the kids those nutritious sodas..but, have you seen my hat?

"Honey, I know you're busy giving the kids those nutritious sodas..but, have you seen my hat?"

I am not a morning person.   My husband knows this.  Yet, despite this well-known fact, I am often awaken by him asking me questions…lots of questions.  It’s usually a one-sided conversation:

“Honey, where is my brown braided belt?”

I mumble from under the covers, “in your closet.”

“Oh, yeah.  There it is.”

(a few seconds pass)

“Honey?  I hate to wake you up again, but have you seen my black socks?”

I now gingerly lift my head from the pillow and scowl at him as I reply, “Your socks are in your sock drawer.”

He opens his drawer…and….Voila!  The black socks are there.

This exchange goes on and on…until I am fully awake and must stumble down the stairs to make breakfast for our three children.  I could’ve slept another precious half hour because my children are still sleeping.  However, this is impossible because I’ve had to find things.

Things that are easily found…if only he would look.

I decided to take a different approach this morning.  I was comfortable in my bed.  I didn’t have to go anywhere this morning and my children were all still snoozing at 6:00 a.m…..when the onslaught of questions began.  Today, I waited a full minute to answer my husband when he asked where his brown loafer was.  Within seconds, he found the other shoe in his closet….right next to the shoe he was holding.

I then looked up from under the pillow that I had pressed against my head and exclaimed,

“You need to familiarize yourself with our home.”

I went on to say, “Your shoes are in your closet….your socks are in your sock drawer….your shirts are hanging in your closet….toothpaste is in the middle drawer…..shampoo is in the shower….and all of the cold perishables are in the fridge.  Don’t wake me up again.”

I’m not Sacagawea, for Pete’s sake.  Our home isn’t so large that you need a map with a little arrow that states, “You are here.”  Things are fairly organized and put in the most logical places.  I just don’t know what happened in a matter of ten years to make my husband believe that he can no longer find things without my assistance.  I’ve asked other women this question and they are as dumbfounded as I am.

I thought I would be sassy and give him a chart of locations and items like the kind you find at the grocery store….but, that would just end up being more work for me.  It’s not like I don’t have anything else to do with three little boys all under six years old and a mountain of dirty laundry that rivals the size of Mt. Everest.

I guess if that is the only thing that I fuss about, that’s not too bad.  I just hate giving up ten extra minutes of sleep to help him find a belt that is hanging right in front of him….in the closet…where he took it off the night before.

Maybe I should reconsider the chart…and a map?

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This week has been particularly trying with my boys.  Summer is here.  School is out.  We have more time on our hands.  Which means….

I’m saying even more crazy stuff.

For example:

I like to listen to a radio station that plays “oldies.”  I really like their “Disco Lunch Hour.”  The other day, we listened to “You Dropped the Bomb On Me” and my boys loved the bomb sound effects, etc.  Later in the lunch hour, we  heard K.C. and the Sunshine Band sing, “Shake Your Booty.”  I thought it was fun to sing while I reminisced about weekends spent at the roller skating rink as a child.  What I didn’t think about was that my boys would latch on to the whole “Shake Your Booty” thing.  The boys loved the lyrics, mostly because K.C. said the word, “Booty.”  For the rest of the day, my boys ran around saying the word “Booty” and laughing like wild hyenas.

Ah, to have three little boys….

Herein starts a new list of crazy stuff I’ve said to my kids this past week.  Enjoy the insanity that is my life:

#1 – “Stop saying the word, “Booty”!  It isn’t funny.  And, No, you may not sing “Shake Your Booty” at church!  I mean it!”

#2 – “Do not try to go down the slip n’ slide naked…..especially before it gets wet.”  (He didn’t listen to me and had to “recover” inside for an hour after the incident)

#3 – “Just because Daddy lets you pee outside in the backyard does not mean that you can just pee outside at the park.”

#4 – “I don’t care that the Hulk runs around without shoes and no shirt.  You must be fully clothed when we go to the grocery store.”  (said to the child who went down the slip n’ slide naked)

#5 – “Farting in the bathtub does not make the tub into a bubble bath.”

#6 – “A rattlesnake would not make a good pet.  I don’t care if they have them at the zoo.  In fact, no snake would be a good pet for us.  Think of something else…please.”

#7 –  “Why do I make up the bed every morning when we just mess the bed up again at night? hmmmm.  Good question.”

#8 – “You may not have a popcicle for breakfast.  I don’t care if it is made with “real fruit juice” like it says on the box.”

#9 – “Please go to sleep.  One day when you are an adult, you will wish you had a nap time.  Seriously.”

#10 – “Why do Mommies wear makeup?  Well….your Mommy wears  it so I don’t scare anyone when I go out in public.”

Thanks, K.C. for the lyrics Shake Your Booty (not really)

Thanks, K.C. for the lyrics "Shake Your Booty" (not really)

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Now, that's what I'm talking about...

Now, that's what I'm talking about...

Sometimes the best things in life are free.  I’m not sure who said that or if it is the lyric in some Beattles song…but, it’s true.  My husband asked me what I would like for Mother’s Day.  I could think of a few things that are totally unrealistic right now:

A cream colored Volvo C70, a diamond Tag Hauer watch with a platinum band, a trip to London,  decent looking shoes to fit my ginormous narrow feet,  world peace and an end to famine

….you get the drift.

However, these are all things that I won’t be given any time soon (at least not with private school tuition looming in the future for three kids)…and the shoes are a lost cause.

I honestly couldn’t think of anything that I couldn’t live without.  I could think of some really cheap (or totally free) gifts that I would adore:

1.  A nap:

Seriously.  I would love to take a nap…by myself….for any length of time that I should need to get recouperative sleep.  Of course, if I were to really get this much-needed REM sleep, I may not wake up for several days.

2.  The laundry done:

I would love to walk into my laundry room, for once, and not see piles of clothes on the floor.  With a husband and three small boys, I feel like I am constantly doing laundry.  In fact, my dryer has begun to squeak.  I think it’s probably time for a new dryer.  UGH.  The thought makes me shudder.

3.  The house cleaned:

So, I’ve gotten Maid Brigade from time to time…maybe twice a year.  It’s not often enough for me.  I’m the one who cleans our house.  I’d love it if I could just go take a nap and awaken to a house that is clean and smelling like lemon Lysol.  However, I think this a fairytale complete with little mice that sew ballgowns and a fairy Godmother that turns pumpkins into stagecoaches.

4.  An hour long uninterrupted phone conversation:

My best friend lives over 500 miles away.  We talk on the phone 3 or 4 times a week.  Unfortunately, our conversations are often interrupted by someone needing to go “potty,”  children fighting, or someone needing “Mommy” for some reason or another.  I’d really like to curl up on my sofa and just catch up with my best friend  for an hour.  This seems to be impossible.  My children aren’t even interested in talking to me…until I pick up that phone receiver, then I am the most popular person in the world.

5.  An afternoon with NOTHING to do:

Is this even possible?  I’m the kind of person that constantly keeps “to do” lists.  For one day, I’d like to take my list and throw it in the trash.  I’d like to spend an afternoon at an antique mall or at Sephora, trying some new lipsticks.  Maybe a pedicure would be nice?  This is definitely something that I could do for myself.   It’s all about scheduling, right?

See?  Somethings in life are free.  My son drew a picture for me for Mother’s Day.  He drew me with big round eyes and a brown nose.  My hair looks like two antennae on top of my head.  My son is 5 years old.  I think he did a fantastic job and I love my picture….even if I look like a big blonde bug.  I’m thinking about framing it.  He worked so hard on it.  I love it.

My husband is still wondering what to get me.  I think I’ll tell him about this list….and start with #1.   A nap would be nice….

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Mary Cassatt is the best artist to capture motherhood.

Mary Cassatt is the best artist to capture motherhood.

The exchange went something like this:

“Come here, baby, and let me help you with your shoes.”

“I’m not a baby.  I’m Jack.”

I watch him struggle to put on his socks and shoes.  For the first time, Jack doesn’t need my help.  He succeeds in putting on his own clothes. This is a real milestone.

He knows it.  I know it.

A lump forms in my throat.

I say, “You’ll always be my baby.”

He says, “Mommy, don’t call me that.”

I say, “O.K.”

I take him to school.  I realize that next year I will be sending my third (and youngest) son off to a Mother’s Day Out program two days a week.  He turns two years old next month.  The “terrible two’s”  have arrived a bit early.  George is saying “MINE!”  George likes to say “No!”  He is no longer a baby.  He is a toddler.  He still likes to put both of his little chubby hands on each of my cheeks and say, “Mommy,”  then we rub noses.  I know all too well…this, too, will soon stop.

By the third child, you see all of the tell tell signs of diminishing babyhood.  The dwindling of baby fat…and the loss of that precious fatty crease between the wrist and hand are seen.  Their vocabulary expands by leaps and bounds.  They stop (or start, as in the case with my youngest) playing with Thomas the Train.  Their interests mature. They may not want to be affectionate in the same ways or need you to pick them up….or help to dress or do a litany of things.

My oldest son is already at that age, at five (soon to be six) where he doesn’t want me to kiss him in front of his friends.  I respect that and we now are “cool” and do our own secret handshake…which is really a fist bump followed by an “explosion sound” and open hand.  We then say to each other, “You’re the bomb.”  He likes it.  It is fun.  It belongs to us.  He also likes it when I recite this poem:

When I was one
I had just begun
When I was two
I was nearly new
When I was three
I was hardly me
When I was four
I was not much more
When I was five
I was just alive
But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever;
so I think I’ll be six now
forever and ever.

– Now We are Six by A.A. Milne, creator of Winne the Pooh

Sometimes I wish he’d stay six forever and ever.

I am rather nostalgic as of late because I realize that my sons are growing up.  It’s just that I feel like time is speeding by.  Don’t they realize how much I treasure every single moment with them?  I don’t think they do and I think that is perfectly fine.  They are busy with “growing up.”  All three of them are involved in what it takes to develop and move on.  I never want to “clip their wings.”  Plus, I’m enjoying the whole ride through their childhood…each and every moment.

I love looking at the artwork of Mary Cassatt.  To me, Cassatt captures the essence of motherhood.  I like every piece of her work.  It conjures up all of these feelings.  I’ve been thinking about buying a print of hers because I reminds me of this time in my sons’ lives.   I truly thank God for allowing me to have them.

So, when my sons tell me, “I’m not a baby.”  I know that deep in my heart…they’ll always be my baby.

No matter how old they get.

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My husband and I have had a very full social calendar lately.   Don’t immediately think that we are really into the “social scene.”  I mean that we’ve had soccer games, practices, church activities….and a few events that have NOT involved our children.

We’ve enjoyed our “adult outings” to various activities.  It requires me to get dressed in something other than gym shorts and yoga pants.  I have to wear makeup, etc.  We get a babysitter and generally have a good time.  However, I’ve noticed that the last three years as a stay-at-home mom have done a real number on my vocabulary and conversation skills.

For instance, this weekend I found myself involved in a conversation with another adult about art.  The artist was a very interesting person and great conversationalist.  I couldn’t believe it when asking him about his art, I actually asked him, “So where do you hang your… stuff?”  What I meant to ask was, “Where is your art on display?”  Definitely not… “Where do you hang your stuff?”

“Stuff?”  My goodness!  Could I not have said the word, “art”?  Or “paintings”?

Sunday evening at an Easter Egg Hunt, I found myself talking with a very interesting woman whose business is in finance and we were conversing about the state of Wall Street.  She said, “The state of our economy is really a concern for most people.  I think most people are really freaked out and don’t want to invest….blah, blah, blah.”  Suddenly, the woman’s voice sounded like the teacher in A Charlie Brown Christmas (you know…”mwah, mwah, mwah, mwah”).   Frankly, I was so busy watching my three boys out of the corner of my eye that I only heard the word, “freaked.”   I replied, “Yeah, I know what you mean about being freaked out.  The Yo Gabba Gabba guy really freaks me out.”

She walked away.

I couldn’t help it.  All I could concentrate on was the sight of  all three of my rowdy sons clinging to the  poor guy whose job it was to dress up like the Easter Bunny.  By the time I got Will and Jack off the Easter Bunny’s back and George off his leg, I realized that I had not responded very appropriately to the conversation that I was just “involved” in.  If that’s what you call it.

I certainly don’t have this “problem” with my friends.  Or maybe I’m not so self conscious while  in their company.  Actually, we talk about all kinds of interesting things.  I don’t censor myself when I’m with them or my family.  However, put me in a room with people who actually go to jobs every day and have a variety of hobbies and activities that don’t require schlepping kids in a minivan all day….and I’m utterly brain dead.

I think I’m suffering from “Mommy speak.”  Mommy speak is when you know all the words to “The Wheels on the Bus,”  but couldn’t carry on a conversation about the local music scene.  It is when you can tell someone about non-staining finger paints, but can’t remember who painted the The Last Supper (It’s Di Vinci, right?).   Mommy speak also enables you to translate on behalf of any toddler or baby.  I can tell you what my one year old is saying.  When he says, “Fyes!”  I know he is saying “Fries,”  as in french fries (this usually happens when we pass a McDonald’s).  I can tell you what any toddler is saying when they say “Poo,”  “Doo,” or “Wee Wee.” Because of this thing, Mommy speak, I am now in the habit of referring to the restroom as the “Potty.”  You know what I’m talking about….surely?  If you don’t have this problem….well, more power to you.

I mean it.

Really.

Mommy speak can sneak up on you.  It can impair your ability to carry on a full conversation.  It impairs your memory and comprehension skills.  I am definitely sure of this.  Some of this is due, in part, to “Momnesia”…or also known as “Mommy Brain.”  I do believe that when you have children, most of us lose precious brain cells…by the butt load.  Don’t even get me started on what happens to your attention span.  Since having children, I am convinced that my three year old has a longer attention span than I do.

I know this won’t last forever.  One day, I will be able to carry on a brilliant conversation.

I’m just scared it will only be after my children leave for college.

Yo gabba gabba

I said to her, "Yeah, the Yo Gabba Gabba guy really freaks me out."

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Some people say that when you die, Heaven is supposed to be better than anything you could have imagined on Earth.  It is supposed to be like being in your most favorite place.  If that is the case, then Heaven would look a whole lot like summer camp, to me.  I’m not kidding.  When spring arrives (It’s sunny today…thanks, God!), I can’t shake the feeling that summer camp is around the corner.  I’m almost forty years old and I still get that longing to pull down the trunk from the attic and begin planning for summer days ahead.  Where’s my canteen, my flip flops, my sleeping bag? Alas, there is no summer camp for adults.  I only wish there was.

In Sleepaway:  The Girls of Summer and the Camps They Love by Laurie Susan Kahn, the author chronicles the whole summer camp experience.  The book is pure nostalgia…in black and white photos.  Kahn’s book is chock full of memories of camp rituals, camp menus, dances and songs…all from the single-sex camp perspective.  It is one that I can totally identify with. I, too, am an alumna of a girls’ summer camp…only my camp was nestled in the woods of Fishville, Louisiana…not near the rocky shores of Maine.  Amongst my bookshelves filled with Jane Austin, Tom Wolfe and Margaret Mitchell, this “picture/coffee table” book has a special place.  It’s a book that I treasure, since I did not have the foresight to save so many of my camp photos and memorabilia.

However, I do have memories. From the age of seven to seventeen, I spent two to six weeks of every summer at camp.  The smells, sights, sounds, and tastes of camp never fade.  I remember the smell of camp so vividly.  The smell was a heavy perfume of Off insect spray, bubblegum, pine tree sap, Coppertone tan lotion, and Sea Breeze anteceptic. The communal shower always smelled of bleach and one doesn’t forget the stench of horse manure steaming in the Louisiana heat.  However horrible the smell of the barn, the mess hall always smelled fantastic…like hot yeast rolls or hamburgers grilling.

Summer camp sounded glorious, too.  It was the most beautiful sound to hear a mess hall full of girls sing the dinner prayer…right before getting totally rowdy and shouting a round of bawdy songs or pounding on the tables demanding M-A-I-L!  There was no better music to drift off to sleep than to hear crickets and the lapping of the lake water…or the rustling of the wind through the pines.  The camp at full tilt was just as harmonious…to hear constant laughter, the thud of arrows hitting a bullseye, cheering at a game of tug-of-war, or the clopping of a horse’s hooves in a riding ring.  My personal favorite was the sound of the campfire with a circle of girls around it, holding hands….singing “The Call of the Fire.”

Camp was always bustling.  There was never too much time to get “bored.”  If memory serves me correct…here was my schedule:

6:45 – Reveille (yes, someone played a bugle to wake the campers)

7:15 – Flag raising (imagine 50 to 75 sleepy girls saying the pledge of allegiance…sometimes this included the flag being raised …and someone’s underwear)

7:45 – Clean up bunk & cabin before breakfast (The floors of the rustic -and I use that term generously – were always covered with grit.  To this day, I can’t stand to walk barefoot on a wood floor)

8:00 – Breakfast (we sang before and after every meal…there were always “hand” movements or some sort of motion to most songs….”Do Your Ears Hang Low?”, “Father Abraham,”  “Lemonade,”  “Clementine,”  “A Cabin in the Woods,”  “Be Kind to Your Web Footed Friends,”  “Rise and Shine,”  the list goes on and on….)

8:45 – Cabin inspection

9:15 – Swimming

10:15 – Arts & Crafts (Tues/Thurs), Archery (M,W,F)

11:15 – Horseback riding

12:15 – Lunch, Mail Call

1:15 – Rest hour (Playing cards, writing letters, making lanyards)

2:15 – Canoeing

3:15 – Snack (popcicles or frozen snicker bars)

3:45 – Tennis & organized games

4:45 – General Swim

5:45 – Clean up before dinner

6:15 – Dinner (which tasted really great at camp….mostly tossed salads with Good Seasons Italian dressing, spaghetti with meat sauce, hot rolls, green beans, fried chicken, corn on the cob…sometimes hot dogs/hamburgers on the grill)

7:00 – Evening Activity (This could be anything.  Every night was something different.  Some of the activities included:  skit night, overnight camping trips, capture the flag played with the whole camp divided into two teams, talent night, movie night…..but the last campfire of the season was reserved for the last night.  More about this later…)

9:00 – Lights Out (more bugle playing)

The last campfire of the season was the most special.  The camp counselors would go out into a clearing in the woods, near the lake and chapel, to build a huge bonfire.  The girls would be led from the camp in single file to form a circle around the fire.  This was a night that the whole camp wore all-white…white camp shirt, white shorts, etc.  We took a minute to take a camp-wide picture out by the lake (one which I wish I still had in its black and white starkness of all of these precious girls) before heading to the fire.  Because many of the new campers would not be familiar with the songs, sheet music would be given out.  I remember being so proud of myself to pass on needing the sheet music after a couple of seasons.  We would all link arms and begin the songs.  After singing Kum By Ya and It Only Takes a Spark, we’d pass out candles and each girl would light the next girl’s candle from one lit candle.  We saved this song for last:

“The call of the fire comes to us through the shadows
That follow the close of the day.
It’s flames bring us peace and a calmness of spirit
That drives all our troubles away.
We are thankful for days and the joys that they give us,
For nights and the rest that they bring
May we go on believing in this life we’re receiving,
Just now round the fire as we sing.”

Then, the counselors would award girls with some outstanding achievement while at camp….”Most Improved Swimmer,”  “Best on Horseback,”  “Most Courageous,”  etc.  I don’t think I remember a girl leaving the campfire without some small ribbon that she had “won” at camp.  Everyone cried..but, only as girls do when faced with leaving a place you love…and people you cherish.  Everyone wanted to stay.

So, why do I love camp?  Easy.  It’s about tradition.  A sense of belonging.   Innocence.  Everyone fitted in.  Childhood was cherished and observed.   Kids were uninhibited.  You ran and played and got dirty and didn’t care.  Gosh, I miss it.

I get a glimpse of that feeling on days when I climb on my sons’ tire swing and let them push me.  I can see over the picket fence in my backyard to the pond down the street.  It reminds me of some camp scene in the back of my mind.  Sometimes I get a whiff of camp while taking my boys hiking down by the river.  Nostalgia boils up from the recesses of my mind.

So, what do I do with this longing?  Well, I plan to send my boys to camp.  Every now and then I look online at a myriad of camps and get excited for them.  However, they are two to three years away from actually going.  It will be a while before I order the big steamer trunk and saving hotel bottles of conditioner.   In the meantime, I revel in my memories … and look forward to giving my boys the same chance to experience it for themselves.

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