Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"Help Me. Help You." Parenting as told by Jerry Maguire

Hey boys and girls! I think we made it. High Five.

I don't want to prematurely celebrate or anything (as if the last week of September is premature. Ugh.) but it seems that we have survived summer. We are just a few days from October and the heat seems to have run out of steam (literally). Yesterday we woke up to cooler temps and it was down right blustery. It even looked like fall outside my window because with just 2 hours of fall weather every single pine needle fell from our trees and made a nice fluffy pine needle blanket over our driveway. It was as if they too just said "Finally." After holding on to those branches way longer than expected.

So I'm sitting here highly satisfied with the possibility of an official season change and drinking my latte while listening to Justin Timberlake radio on Pandora. (that was an impressive run-on sentence. But since this is just my blog and not English class, I have no desire to go back and correct it.) (I feel pretty confident that any true grammar sticklers have long since quit reading my blog due to sentence structure induced headaches.)

I feel like I need to take advantage of a good latte and the cool weather good vibes that come along with a beautiful fall day. Besides, I haven't written in a while and there are a few things to catch up on. So lets do a little recap of last week.

I was tested last week as a mother and as a decent human being. My sweet sweet husband was out of town Wednesday – Friday at a conference. As I type that I realize that it wasn't very long, but let me assure you that time stood still last week and those three days lasted for an entire month. I am not cut out to be a single mother. Thank the good Lord I don't have to do that regularly. I'm not sure what that says about me as a capable mother, that I can't handle parenting my children all by myself. But I choose to believe it means that I am better at being a team player and at working harmoniously with my partner. Regardless, It means that I rely heavily on Steve to pull his weight around here and while we are always technically outnumbered 3:2 as parents, he is pretty big and tall and probably counts as almost 2 of them.

Wednesday started off with a bang because Walt pointed out (as we were walking out of the door) that his finger was very swollen and red and "it really hurts to touch it like this...Ouch!" *eye roll emoji* (Why do kids always say that? It hurts when I do this... and then do that thing and cry about it? "Help me, Help you! Help ME. Help YOU!")

So we made a detour to the early morning walk-in clinic before school only to find that he had some sort of infection that required an antibiotic. Thankfully he didn't have fever and was not contagious so I sent him on to school. I later received a call from the school nurse, (totally expecting Walt's finger to have fallen off or grown to the size of a banana) as it turned out, Amelia was now sick and needed to be picked up. Awesome. I was gonna shower, but who has time for such luxuries? So I woke up sleeping Louisa (breaking the first rule of motherhood "never wake a sleeping baby/toddler") and we went and checked out the kids from school. At 2:45pm. Just FYI the school day ends at 3:30pm. Sigh.

Amelia took a sick day Thursday and Friday due to Strep Throat and honestly I think it was best thing for her. Not that I want my kids to be sick, but she needed the rest and I've never really been a stickler for perfect attendance. (all of my former teachers would like to insert a *eye roll emoji* here.) We had to hit the early morning walk in clinic Friday morning once again to get Amelia's necessary meds. I know those nurses took pity me and my hot mess existence. At least it's nice when the patient is a little older so that you can run all the mom errands while she is at home in the bed with a phone nearby.

Steve arrived home at 6pm on Friday with pizza in hand. It was the most beautiful sight these eyes have ever seen. At that moment I completely understood the definition of the word Savior. I was finally able to let out the breath I had been holding for 3 days.

This is the point I give a shout out to all the single moms out there. Whether you do it every day or you have husband who travels a lot, you have my respect and my prayers. That's a tough job and you will get your reward in heaven. May your children rise up and call you blessed my friends. You deserve it.

The weekend was a great reward for a yucky week. Walt and I had the chance to participate in the St Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer. It is such a fun event and it was nice to spend some one on one time with my boy. He is growing so fast and sometimes I forget to notice. Time alone with me  doesn't happen very often so he took advantage of it by filling all the minutes of the day telling me every thought that came to his sweet mind. His brain is always operating on super speed. I kind of can't wait to see what he will create with that amazing brain of his.

Sunday was filled with Church and Family and Naps and then a much needed date night with friends. It really doesn't get much better than that.

September 2014
God is constantly trying to teach me patience. Patience with my children, patience with my husband, patience with 1000 little things a day, even patience with God and His will for my life. Ever time I think He's getting through to me, I burn by tongue on my coffee rendering my tongue useless for the rest of the day. Clearly I still have a lot to learn.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Pronto Pups, and Funnel Cakes, and Pastries OH MY!

I have been MIA for the week because Steve and I have been on a 10 day food cleanse.

That statement needed a little breathing room because.... 10. day. cleanse. Y'all. The struggle has been completely real. I have been so cranky and bothered because delicious food is my love language. I kept trying to sit down and write but couldn't even form complete sentences. Most of my posts are powered by Starbucks and Cinnamon Toast Crunch and apparently without them, I am useless.

This week has been a blur of obnoxious meal planning and vegetable washing and exercising will power (that I don't have) mixed with all the regular dinner prep and homework and kid shuttling of a normal week. It is not all bad and I'm not really "hungry", but I do miss the sweets and carbs I love so much. I'm trying to be a big girl and push through because I know that as I get older I need to work towards a healthier lifestyle. One that includes more leafy greens and less donuts.  So I will press on.

I was at the gym the other day and saw a few of my younger, more fit friends. They were working out like beasts. (and barely breaking a sweat. I walk for 5 min on the treadmill and my shirt is soaked and I have the blotchy red face. Life is unfair.) One friend had run several miles that morning and was back for more weight lifting and whatever else you know when you are awesomely athletic.

I stood there (sweating) and thinking... "When does it end?" and a wave of sadness and defeat came over me. I had dreamed of the day when I would be in shape and could just maintain and not beat myself up on a regular basis. I thought skinny people got a break and could just relax and eat the Poptarts again. Y'all. I will be honest. This sent me down a depression spiral that almost landed me in a pint of Ben and Jerry's. (I will have you know that I resisted that urge and had a "delicious" protein shake instead. *insert eye roll emoji*).

I have since come to terms with the fact that achieving "skinny" is not the goal. I need to stop waiting for the day when I can eat whatever I want and not worry about what it does to my body. That day is has passed. It was called childhood.

That truth became oh so evident this weekend at the Germantown Festival. We have lived in Germantown for 6 years, but this was our first time to make it to the festival. It was fun and hot and there was every kind of delicious fair themed food you could imagine. The smell made my cleansing heart ache. Steve and I remained strong and drooled as we watched our children devour their hot dogs, hamburgers, and italian ice. It was hard and I may have taken a teeny tiny bite of that burger when Steve wasn't looking.

Festival rides get 2 thumbs up from these guys. Amelia and I stayed in the shade and shopped the booths.
Sadly we left empty handed because I don't do well with too many choices or shopping while I sweat.
Ugh. Again with the sweat.

I am on this constant journey to be content with my body. Lots of days I struggle with self doubt and comparison. But then I have days when I am confident in my identity and the promise that...

"I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well." 
Psalm 139:14

I am a work in progress. I am almost 40 and I have to continue to remind myself of this every day. I pray my children can learn this truth sooner than later. I look at my beautiful girls who, I can already tell, will have very different body types. I pray often that they will not compare themselves to each other. I pray that they will be confident in this truth so they will not fall into the trap of comparing their outward appearance with friends and images they see in media. As a mom, it is easy to tell them what really matters is the shape of their heart. I can see this in them, but I have trouble telling it to myself.

I read this blog post recently titled "Your Body is not your Masterpiece". It was so wonderfully convicting and something that I will make sure to go back and read many times when I am obsessing too much about the diet or the exercise or the super tight pants.

Glennon Melton writes "Stop spending all day obsessing, cursing, perfecting your body like it's all you've got to offer the world. Your body is not your art, it's your paintbrush. Whether your paintbrush is a tall paintbrush or a thin paintbrush or a stocky paintbrush or a scratched up paintbrush is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is the YOU HAVE A PAINTBRUSH which can be sued to transfer your insides onto the canvas of your life – where others can see it and be inspired and comforted by it."

Lord, have mercy. I love a metaphor. And an artistic metaphor just makes me clap my hands with joy.

So let me reign this post in before it exceeds some online word limit. I will continue to eat clean and healthy and try to cook clean and healthy because I would like to feel good and stay healthy so I can do whatever it is I'm supposed to do. And in two days when this cleanse is behind me, I am going to eat a celebratory cupcake because that it is who I am.

I must remember that no matter what Facebook and Instagram and tv and magazines and all the other voices say, my goal can not be to perfect this body. Because my body is not my offering. "Your life's work is the love you give and receive – and your body is the instrument..."

Can I get a Amen? Because that, my friends, is quite a relief.

July 2013
The public restrooms that I have visited the last couple of days have made me lose my faith in humanity.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The season of Walt and pumpkin spice!

September is here. It is Labor Day and this weekend there was a hint of slightly cooler weather. That's the interesting thing about the South, we have endured the 120 degree heat of August and all of the sudden 88 degrees feels like boots and scarves weather. Whether it's perceived coolness or actual cooler temps, Ill take it.

This semi-shift in seasons gets me so excited. Fall is my absolute favorite. Once I get in fall mode, there is no going back. All I want to do is eat pumpkin bread and candy corn and drink salted caramel mochas while sitting outside.

Our family rings in the most wonderful time of year with Walt's birthday which happens to always fall on Labor Day weekend. So I guess technically everyone celebrates the end of summer/beginning of fall on Walt's birthday, they just don't know it.

I believe I have made it very clear here and here that I think birthdays are a big deal.  They must be celebrated to the fullest. That doesn't mean we always have huge Pinterest inspired parties (although I will admit I have been known to go down that road and I stress myself out so much I have to take to the bed for the next week.) it just means we like to do as many special "birthday" things as we can during birthday week. (I'm going to keep talking about BW until it is a culturally accepted thing. I will not stop until Birthday Week gets the respect it deserves.)

This year sweet W got 2 complete birthday weekends. Last weekend we took the new mom mobile / family truckster / swagger wagon (Still working on we are going to call the van. Because a fun name will somehow make a van seem cooler.) on a roadtrip to Jackson to visit Steve's family. Three out of the 8 Summy grandchildren celebrate their birthday during the first week of September so that called for a rip roaring family birthday party.

The kids had a great time and we adults had fun talking over all of the noise. And of course there was eating. Always lots of eating. Here are pics of the kids and the cakes. Nothing else really matters does it? I'm so glad my kids get to grow up with lots of cousins. Those are some special relationships!

So since one birthday party is never enough, we spent the next week preparing for Walt's second "party". Don't tell him, but it was really more of a glorified playdate. We invited 3 of his friends to come play for a few hours on Saturday morning. They played outside. I fed them Chick Fil A and cupcakes. No muss, no fuss.

Just some boys running around the yard shirtless shooting each other (and big sister) with water guns.   Just good clean (er not so much clean. More smelly) fun.

There were a few presents and balloons so it could technically count as a party. But nothing fancy. Nothing Pinteresty. Very 80s birthday retro. Steve and I have decided that is the way to go for all future Summy parties. We are calling it now.

So we celebrated our boy becoming a 7 year old to the fullest this past week. I think he had a pretty great time. I talked about it yesterday on the obligatory Happy Birthday Facebook post. We moms often talk about how we "can't believe our babies are 7" (or whatever age). I understand that thought, but on the other hand, I can totally believe that this guy has been with us for 7 whole years. They have been some of the most challenging years of motherhood. But also some of the most fun and the sweetest. I have aged every day of that 7 years thanks to his.... we will call it "spunk".

He is high energy and always the life of the party. But he is also my most sensitive child. He feels every emotion outwardly and is often confused by it. I watch him struggle with difficult decisions and listen to him talk about his love for others. It has been my great joy in life watching him develop from that squishy little chubby baby into such a cool young man. He challenges me and I am grateful for the challenge. Walter Thomas Summy is going to do something big and surprising in life. Just wait and see.

Here are just a few more moments of our little man enjoying turning 7.

Doesn't every 2016 boy ask for a coon skin hat
and a wooden pop gun?

10pm family pic on his birthday.
Hanging with friends and enjoying every last second of the day.

September 2014
Let's go ahead and put this out there... It's Friday. I am a stay at home mom. And I am wearing the same clothes I wore yesterday. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

"It's so hard to say Goodbye to yesterday" – Boyz II Men

I started writing this post last week, but never finished because, well,  I'm officially struggling to get in school mode... still. It's like I have never done this before. Except that this is the 6th time I've done this. I had hoped for the "6th time's the charm". Is that the phrase? I don't know, maybe it's the heat. Yeah that's it. I will continue to blame the heat for all my shortcomings.


The Summy family, or rather I the Summy mom, have reached a new phase in life. Last week we said goodbye to my Honda Pilot and traded it in for a dreaded youth sucking mini van. This has been a little tough for me to swallow.

I loved my Pilot more than anyone should love a vehicle. I'm completely serious. I only had it for 6 short years, but I LOVED it like an old friend. After a particularly difficult day, I would just go for a drive with the windows down and the 90s alt rock cranked up and would come home feeling rejuvenated. It was the first brand new car I owned. It was so shiny and cool and had all the bells and whistles. It was perfect. And if we didn't have such noisy, touchy, long legged kids (or blessings from Lord) with giant backpacks, I would have driven that thing until the wheels fell off. 

But alas, the time had come (or rather the Honda clearance event had come) and so we said a very tearful (on my end) good bye. I know what you are going to say.  "We should not value our material possessions because they have no eternal value." But I don't care what you say. As Steel Magnolia's M'Lynn Eatenton would say "That's what my mind says, I wish somebody would explain it to my heart." The hope in the eternal brought me little to no comfort last Saturday afternoon as I watched my car leave the driveway for the last time. 

It was like a weird version of Sophie's Choice. I desperately wanted the space and convenience of the minivan, but couldn't stand the thought of becoming a stereotypical suburban soccer mom. I felt sure that I would wake up the next day completely gray and wearing mom jeans. 

Seeing that I was slightly overreacting and starting to spiral out of control, my husband (who is always willing bring me back down to reality) mentioned that, while that was a legitimate concern in my late twenties, it is not so off target for a mom of 3 who is pushing 40. "You are what you are...and what you are is a mom."  There you go. Life according to Steve Summy. It's possible we could not be more different if we tried.

"Just pretend you are sad for Mommy."

I sometimes overreact. It's just what I do.

So after a "good bye photo shoot" with my pilot (Doesn't everybody do those?), I vowed to move on and be thankful for the comfort and convenience of a new van. And after only a week I totally get it. Magical doors and a spacious interior have made everything we do a more pleasant experience. Grocery shopping, School Carpool, and Weekend Road Trips have all been improved just in the first week of owning this "living room on wheels".

Lest I sound ungrateful for a new vehicle, all kidding aside, I am so thankful that we are in the position to have something this extravagant to transport our precious family here and there. I sat in it couple of times this week smelling that new car smell and thinking of all the memories that will be made in it. All the conversations that will take place while heading to play practice or basketball games. The road trips that will shape us as a family. I want to regularly pray over our van that God will always be present with us while we navigate the next several years of life.

So like most things (including myself), it's what's on the inside of the van (and not the outward appearance) that really counts. Maybe this will be a good daily reminder of that truth.

Steve keeps telling me this is just a season. The more I think about it, I think it has the potential to be our best season yet. If for no other reason than the next season will involve teenage drivers and that is basically terrifying.

August 2014
Many thanks to the kind and compassionate police officer who had pity on me and gave me a traffic warning instead of the speeding ticket I deserved. He took one look at the frat party going on in my back seat and knew I could really use a break.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Let's Pretend Coffee and Musicals Have Something in Common

Today was a fun day.

It started off great after dropping all of the kids off for school (we could stop right there and call this a win for Mom). Then I had a nice morning hanging out with a group of my favorite godly women in one of their homes. It was relaxed and easy as we sat and talked and watched her twin toddlers play all around us. We talked so long that we decided to order in lunch and talk some more. It was one of those perfect mornings that you wish you could enjoy on a regular basis, but we all know are almost impossible to replicate. 

I read or heard somewhere recently (I'm not really sure which one. I've been taking in a lot of words lately through social media, books, and pod casts) that stay at home moms with young kids should be doing their staying at home together. Especially while the kids are young. Not only because we need each other for sanity as well as an extra pair of eyes and hands. But also because soon these little ones will be busy with school and after school activities and we will be spending even more of our life riding around in our (more to come on the use of OUR) mini vans (aka... living room on wheels). And our life saving friendships will be forced take a back seat to the chaos.

Knowing this was a rare moment, we enjoyed our time together. We laughed and even cried together all with Sesame Street playing in the background. We talked about the frustrations and joys of motherhood and how the further along in the process we get, we each start to develop our on way of parenting that is different from our own childhood. There are some hurt feelings that come from this realization and I'm sure that is normal. Of course, if it's not, please don't tell us. The last thing we need is another excuse to believe we have crossed over the crazy line. 

I left her house rejuvenated and encouraged and with a belly full of the best guacamole in Memphis. Like I said, it was a fun day. And it was about to get even better.

After picking up all of the children (There are only 3, but in the afternoon I swear it feels like there are twice as many of them), we came home and started our normal after school routine. Today was different, however, since we had anxiously been waiting for 4pm on Tuesday ever since Amelia auditioned for the school play. 

Ya'll. Amelia has stage presence. I can't explain it. I assume it came from her father's side of the family. She is confident and poised and bold. So when the school announce the play for this year would be Annie Jr. she decided then and there she was going to get the lead and play Annie. And she believed whole heartedly that it would happen. I was a little concerned at first since she genuinely seemed to believe her red hair was going to get her the part by default. I told her while I and everyone  she meets loves her red locks, I still thought she should spend a little bit of time actually practicing the lines, music, and dance. 

She never ceases to amaze me with her confidence. I kept trying to be realistic and telling her that she didn't need to get her heart set on one role because many girls would be trying out for the lead. Girls that had more experience in actual acting, not just singing and dancing. I'm embarrassed now as I think about all the ways I tried to put my self doubt onto my brave 10 year old. Even when filling out the audition form under "What part are you auditioning for?" I wrote "Annie / or any orphan". Gah! Have a little faith AM! 

You know that inspirational quote you see on cute chalkboards at Hobby Lobby a lot these days? 

"She believed that she could, so she did"

That is Amelia to a T. That girl went up there with complete faith in herself and gave it her all in front of a group of random adults. And at 4pm today we got word that her hard work had paid off. This November we will watch our little girl in the role she was born to play. She told me this would be her year and dang it if she wasn't right again. Congratulations to my star. I guess this means I have to become a stage mom, although, hopefully nothing like those ladies on Toddlers in Tiaras. Yikes.

I spent far too many minutes going through old pictures to find this one from Halloween 2008. Look at that precious baby. 

What did you expect? I was a child from the 80s who had a 2 year old with red curly hair. She had no choice.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Imaginary Friends Cramping my Style

My 3 year old daughter has an imaginary friend. This is a first for me, and I honestly don't know what to do with it.

I'm a fairly level headed person (most of the time. I mean, unless you eat the last cupcake which is so obviously mine. Or call me "mom" or ask me a question past 6pm). Okay well maybe level headed is not the right term. I am practical. Very practical. I see things plainly in black and white. So the whole imaginary friend concept is lost on me. I was so confused and worried that I had to do some research on the topic to make sure this wasn't a sign of loneliness, depression, or further proof that I'm failing as a mom. (And by research I mean I went to the Google and read 2.5 articles on the subject.)

This hasn't really come up in the lives of my first 2 kids. My oldest, as I believe I have pointed out here, is possibly more literal and practical than her mother. There is no room in her life for fluff or flare. It is all function over form for her. If fact, I never saw her pretend as toddler. Probably because she never really needed to since she had her parents undivided attention. That is, until #2 came along.

Middle man is not necessarily (or at all) that rational, as his imagination is on turbo speed all. the. time. He, however, seems to have a very firm grasp on the difference between imagination and reality and can flip back and forth between the two worlds without any overlap.

Manicure for this fancy pants' first day of preschool.
Gotta look your best when you are working that play-dough.
Enter Louisa. If her sister is "function over form". This girl is "who needs function when you have form with a little extra flare on top?" There is not enough fake princess jewelry in this house to keep up with her. She is "on" all the time. And if there isn't an audience in the room to watch her perform, well by golly, she will make someone up.

So she did.

There are actually 2 imaginary playmates that she spends her time with and they function very differently. First, there is her Grandma. This was is a little confusing as it took us a while to figure out that Grandma is someone totally different than either of her actual grandmothers. Teachers at school started talking to us about how nice it was that Louisa's grandmother takes her on such fun adventures.

I thought it was weird so I asked Lou, "Did you tell your teacher about spending time with Grandmommie?"

She looked at me like I was the weirdo and said "No. I told them about My Grandma!"

Me: "Do you mean Gram (Steve's mom)?"

Lou: "Uh No! MY GRANDMA! You know the one with pink hair and a pink and purple car and unicorn at her house."

Say what? I'm going to need you to back that up and start again.

So that was the beginning of the MANY Grandma stories. They are super detailed and always involve the color pink and lots of sparkles. She talks to Grandma on her phone constantly about all kinds of random yet serious things. (her phone = the plastic Barbie smart phone that she received in a Happy Meal more than 2 years ago. Happy Meal toys have some serious longevity at the Summy house.)

Interestingly, Grandma isn't ever actually present. She apparently lives somewhere else (in her pink house) and Louisa has visited her a lot. All the stories are memories. According to my super duper research, this is pretty non traditional. And probably is less of an invisible playmate, but a way to lie about all the cool things she wishes she were doing. I'm hoping Grandma goes away before her teen years and she starts telling stories "about that time Grandma and I were SO WASTED."  (As I typed that I actually started to panic a little.)

Anyway, for now Grandma seems pretty harmless although It's still a little awkward at church when we have to explain that, "No she really isn't talking about her actual grandmother. Just some imaginary lady she calls Grandma." 

Imaginary friend #2 is a little more "normal". She is invisible and is always hanging around the house and her name is Blobby. Blobby is pink and always seems to be sitting in the chair that I want to sit in. There aren't many good stories about Blobby. She must be kind of quiet and her job is to follow Louisa around. Silly Blobby also seems to get herself locked out of the house an awful lot.

I know, thanks to my extensive research, that this is a sign of creativity and should not be discouraged. I also know I need to just enjoy this time because soon Lou will grow out of the Imaginary Friend stage and I will be sad. But, guys, I lose my patience really quickly with these friends.

Case in point... The other day we were rushing (always) to go somewhere and Louisa was classically dragging and refusing to put clothes on her body.

Lou: "Mom I can't wear THIS dress! My Grandma wants me to match her today!"
Me (in a moment of frustration and low blood sugar): "Well, your Grandma isn't real so I don't really care what she thinks."

GASP. Silence. Then the tears come... "She is too real! She is not a fake. She is my GRANDMA! Why are you so mean to me? Say she's real Mommy! Say it!"

 Well let's add that to the list of ways I am screwing up my children. I'm sure that is Child Psychology 101. Never Ever Tell Them Their Imaginary Friends are... Imaginary.  It's simple. Just try not to destroy your child's hopes and dreams. Class dismissed.

I will just add this to my prayer list. The one where I pray that my kids will not be broken by my actions and words. That the Lord will comfort them when their Mom loses her mind and use those moments to show them that we are all imperfect (gross understatement) and our sin can get the better of us sometimes. In those times, Mom gives in to her emotions and lack of caffeine, but thankfully she can run to Jesus and He will forgive and forget her sin.

I seem to pray this a lot.

In my defense, it is a proven fact that dealing with drama before 10am is impossible for Mommy. And should be avoided at all cost. Just ask Amelia how she learned the truth about the tooth fairy after one of my early morning "fits of honesty".


August 2014
It's a surprise every night that we have to put on pajamas and brush our teeth before we get in bed. Every night.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Professional-ish Commentary on #Rio2016 - Week 1

So the Summy family is completely consummed with the Olympics. Like all stellar Americans we are committed to every event. Watching them all live, re-watching the highlights on DVR, providing excellent couch commentary about sports that we only follow every 4 years. This is all very funny coming from the least athletic family in the US of A.

Yet here we are. The entire family is obsessed. Starting with the Opening Ceremony. Amelia decorated the den and the front door. We invited family to celebrate. We grilled out and ate lots of very patriotic cupcakes. The OC provides all the pomp and circumstance that I love. Sure it was long, but its my one chance to get a very thorough Geography lesson and it only comes around every 4 years. So you better believe we will watch every single tiny country march out with her flag. I feel so proud for those athletes of the small former Soviet Union countries and their teams of 3 and their sweet flag barrier just crying like a baby as he walks out. Just go ahead and rip my heart out. The patriotism is flying high in our household during these 2 weeks and, thankfully, all the yuckiness of this election year is forgotten... for now.

Speaking of crying athletes... Don't get me wrong, I'm loving the Michael Phelps domination, but there is something so heartwarming about the young newbies crying on the gold medal podium and mouthing the words to our national anthem. I just want to jump through the tv and give them a hug.

There has been a little bit of a priority struggle this year as the first week of Olympics coincides with the first week of school. Sure school and sleep are important, but we can't possibly go to bed before seeing every second of every swimming semi so that means a lot of late nights followed by very early mornings. Morning hours that the kids and I haven't seen in 2 months. So I'm feeling like an Olympic champion of coffee drinking this week. I excel in both quantity and quality as sometimes nothing but a complicated Starbucks $5 soy latte with 2 pumps of caramel will do.

And that just brings us to the inevitable self comparison and obvious self loathing that comes with watching these Olympians in their rock solid bodies. Those beach volleyball ladies. Kerri Walsh Jennings! What?!? You are MY age! AND a mom of 3! I just sit on the couch eating patriotic cupcakes while she performs feats of strength that make my body hurt just by watching. And that amazing 41 year old gymnast? Come on! Oksana Chusovitina from Uzbekistan is gettting. it. done. in her 7th olympic games. To be that motivated and physically awesome for that many years is astonishing to me. On behalf of all the "past our prime" moms of the world, well done Ms Chusovitina. Your 17 year old son has to be so proud of you!

Let's not leave out the youngsters who are kicking butt out there. Katie Ledecky.... gracious girl. You are like the energizer bunny. Owning that 800m freestyle like it was a walk in the park. But it isn't at all a walk in a park. It is more like running for you life from a pack of wolves for 10 miles. It is 16 lengths of the pool. I would sink before I made it across 1 time. How do you keep count of how many laps you have done? How do you stay afloat that long without getting a cramp? How do you NOT DROWN! All very valid questions I think.

The USA gymnastics team, the Final Five, are each so good that it is a shame they were weren't all able to compete for the all around because they are clearly the 5 best gymnast in the entire world. Hands down.

And then there is MP. He is not human. I am more impressed with him at this Olympics than ever since he is beating kids more than 10 years younger then he is. He is showing some 31 year old fatigue, yet still blowing away the competition. And his ready room run in with Chad Le Clos has provided some of the best, most entertaining memes ever seen on Facebook and Twitter.

My kids have seen this face more times than I care to admit. Most days, it sums up my feelings on their behavior quite nicely. This will also be my face when these 2016 games come to an end and I have to get back to my regularly scheduled life.

August 2010
During an important family discussion, my husband quoted Boyz II Men and tried to pass it off as a valid point.