Friday, April 22, 2016

Let's hear it for the Mom bodies!

Moms, can we just own our mom bodies? I think we can start a movement if we all work together. I'm sitting here getting decked out in athletic gear for the Mother/Son Olympics at school and all the usual voices are fighting in my head. "Yuck! Why must spandex be so stretchy and also why is not stretchy enough?" Then the Rationalizing Voice (my favorite btw) comes back with "well I think you look fine. You've had 3 kids. Who cares if your marsupial pouch sticks out a little? Surely other mothers have the same battle scars from pregnancy." But then Insecure voice says "but what about all the tiny super fit moms? You can't stand near them, towering over them like a nice shade tree. Someone will think you are their mom too."

Rationalizing voice has a point. If I'm happy and taking care of myself, I need to be happy with my Mom Body.... even proud.  I want to just own it, but I am constantly confronted with the images that cause Insecure Voice to panic.

So here is my plan. Let's start a movement to own our mom bodies. It will only work if we are all on board. So fit moms, join us please. Eat a donut and wash it down with a milk shake and enjoy it! We can do it if we all work together! Who's with me?!?!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Tis the season to Prom

If you guys haven't noticed it is prom season. It's all over social media. Moms proudly posting photos of their beautiful children all dressed up and ready for the "best night of their life". And they are beautiful. Seriously. Teenage awkward years don't exist anymore. I remember prom. It was a big deal. I imagine if Facebook had been around in the 90s my mom and I would have been plastering so many pictures of me in my super sequined dress (that incidentally could double as battle armor) that the internet would be sick of me.

I think it's safe to say that prom pictures have changed a bit since the mid 90s. Have you seen them? I believe some are actually taken by professional photographers, you know, people that used to only photograph things like weddings and newborns. I'm amazed by this. We took our pictures with a 35 mm camera standing in front of someone's dad's Buick LeSabre. And the poses. Wedding quality stances in a grassy field at sunset gazing lovingly in each others eyes like they had just said "I Do." In reality they are probably on their first date and the most contact they have had is via text messages discussing color coordinating her dress and his converse sneakers. I even saw a close up of two sweet kids holding hands focusing on a diamond ring that was prominently placed on her left ring finger. You know, LIKE A WEDDING RING. Whoa. Let's all remember it's. a. dance. 

Allow me to point out another interesting prom addition-the Promposal. All I can say is good grief. As if asking a girl to the biggest night of her high school career wasn't difficult enough, now these poor teenage boys must preform a unique Pinterest inspired stunt (including posters and a song and possibly a flash mob) that if she accepts will be shared instantly on social media. Lord help these pimple faced little men with sweaty palms. I guess actually proposing to your wife will be breeze after this stress. Bless them all. I think I will have Walt start searching Pinterest now.

I hope the 2016 prom goers are having a blast. It will be a night they will always remember. I remember every detail of mine. And in the spirit of #TBT, I thought I would share this.

This is how we did Prom Photoshoots in 1994.
Lets take a minute to soak this in. There are some things we need to discuss.

First, of course, that dress. Purchased from the Mother of the Bride section at Goldsmiths.

I was 16... just a sophomore baby (thus the reason my dad only approved a MOB dress that covered as much of my skin as possible) and thrilled to be going to the Jr/Sr prom. Look at that smile. Never mind I had never spoken more than 3 words to my sweet date. Never mind I was tagging along with my older cousin and his friends who I barely knew and who were decidedly more popular than I was. And never mind I would never be able to find the nerve to form complete sentences and actually talk to anyone the entire night. I was going to prom and that is all that mattered.

Back to the dress. It was brown with copper leaves and shoulder pads. Why? My dad insisted the dress be modest. But who insisted it be ugly? Did I have no friends to help me?

All I can say is thank the Lord Mark Zuckerberg is younger than I am and therefore my teenage years were not lived out on Facebook. Im not sure I would have survived the knee length shiny copper ensemble.  Tragic.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Belated Easter Post

So I was looking at photos on my camera the other day and realized that we are almost at the end of April and I have failed to shamelessly brag on my beautiful children in their Easter frocks to the blog world. That is unacceptable parenting. I posted a picture or two that day on Instagram, but that does not do a holiday justice.

Easter is a wonderful time of new beginnings. Spring has sprung. Everything is bright and colorful. Trees and grasses are greener. The weather is warming and people are coming out of hiding. I am a traditionalist when it comes to new Easter clothes. I had a Ohioan friend who commented on how quaint and Southern it was of me to be shopping for Easter dresses. She's totally right. It is so Southern and I love it. It's the one time of year that I get to dress up my family like they are my own personal dolls. (Husband included. He is sweet to play along.) Last year I went a little crazy with the matching and bought the entire yellow section of the Kelly's Kids Catalogue. After being ruthlessly teased by our Midtown friends, Steve swore never to wear matching clothes again. I guess I don't blame him. We did look a little ridiculous, but the pictures were adorable!!!

This year everyone did their own thing and these kids were even more precious. Look at them.

Easter Sunday was such a great day. We begin the day worshipping with our Kirby Woods family and then headed down to my parents for lunch and egg hunting. Always a fun day with family. I have always loved being with my family, but the older we get the more I love it. I hope my kids stay as close as me and my siblings and we can keep getting together every year as the family just gets bigger and bigger. We missed having Carmen, Jeremy, and Elzy with us this year since they were in Jackson celebrating with the Keens. However, we kept them in the loop on all of the good food they were missing and thanked them for therefore leaving "more for us" because thats how we roll.... pun intended.

After we were sufficiently stuffed we took the obligatory family pics, cousin pics, grandparent with grandchildren pics. Every combination we could come up with. Because this is also tradition. I remember doing this at my grandmothers house during the holidays. I hated it. So of course, I want my kids to grow up with the same annoyance so they will have the same memories. Circle of life.

This pictures sums up the kids cooperation with every photo session.
Grandmommy and Granddaddy are doing their best ventriloquist acts
trying to convince everyone to say "cheese"

Then the egg hunting. Followed immediately by eating all the candy right there in the driveway. Good times.

It was a fun day and everyone passed out from a sugar induced coma on the way home. Just as it should be.

I will leave this last photo for you guys to Ooo and Ahh over. Its possibly my favorite of the day. Walt was so proud to be wearing a coat like dad. He asked afterwards if he could wear the coat to play "businessman" at home. Bless his sweet weird heart.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Kelly Osbourne and Homemade Mac and Cheese

I was reading a facebook post today and the person was talking about meeting Kelly Osbourne and she noted "who is the funniest, most wonderfully warm woman." That struck me for several reasons. First, because the writer felt the need to point that out as if to say...."I know what you guys are thinking, but let me set you straight." I even thought at first, well isn't that nice to know that she is warm (because obviously she is funny). That's unexpected.

But then I started thinking. Why shouldn't she be warm? She was at a nice party with nice food? You don't always hear people making a point to stop and describe "regular" women in that way. I don't know. I guess it is a surprise to hear that when you run into a celebrity they aren't shouting at their assistants to bring them exactly 4 slightly green bananas and a bottle of their special kind of sparkling water. It's nice to know that they are normal, sweet women. So sweet that someone would notice and write about it.

Warm. That is such a great description. Warm is comfortable. Warm is a fire and fuzzy slippers. Warm produces a smile. Warm is friendly and passionate and cares about what you care about. Warm reminds me of mac and cheese. And there is nothing bad about the way mac and cheese makes you feel. Warm is a hug from mom.

So that got me thinking further. Wow. Wouldn't it be nice if that is what people said after they met me? I wouldn't expect someone to mention it on social media or even tell me, but I would hope that I could be warm and kind and loving and compassionate to people everyday in my daily routine. You see, I am not naturally those things. Im kind of loud and sarcastic and distracted on a daily basis so if someone saw those things in me, they would be seeing Jesus through me. And THAT is a goal to strive for. That when I'm being "funny" or loud and basically saying "look at me!" it would not overshadow what is good and kind that says "look at Him!"

Monday, April 11, 2016

Moms, just stop.

Louisa and I went to the park on Friday. It was a beautiful day although a little chilly for my taste. However, nothing a hoodie and scarf couldn't cure. I was gearing up for a weekend as a single parent (Steve was heading down to New Orleans with some old friends) so I needed to let the little one burn as much energy as possible. We don't go to the park a lot and usually we are not there when lots of other moms and kids are there, (which is kind of how I prefer it... What? Did I say that?) but by the looks of it lots of moms were feeling the need to get out of the house that day.

I am not good at making mommy friends with strangers so I just kind of sat back and watched Lou play while listening to all the conversations around me (Obviously eaves dropping is wrong and I never do it...except all the time. Whatever. Judge if you want. There is some funny stuff to be heard if you like that sort of thing.)

One thing I realized is that all of the funny "what type of mom are you?" and "mommy wars" spoofs I watch on facebook are not far off. I thought those things were exaggerated or just people who live in LA or NYC or places where parental (and just human) competition is heightened. But this sillyness is even happening right here in Germantown.

The first thing I saw was a little boy playing with a small stick and then he simply pointed it at another child. She laughed and played along. Suddenly, his mother swooped in screaming ( in a high pitched sing song voice so as to still be positive and encouraging) "No no, Zander! We do not play with sticks that are shaped like guns. We do not believe in pointing guns at people in our family. Guns are very very harmful!" 

Whew. Crisis averted.

And then I hear 2 other moms discussing how they usually go to a different park because the play ground equipment is better for stimulating motor skills or something to that effect. But that today they mixed it up to introduce variety in their little's play experience.

And yet another mother was encouraging her daughter count each monkey bar before the grabbed it, making sure the play time was also educational.


That was too much for a Friday. My head was spinning. I thought we were just there to slide and swing. Silly me. Call me crazy, but I think we can all just calm down. Our kids are fine and having fun. Just make sure there is no blood shed and we should be fine.

Meanwhile, this chick had no idea that there was anything else going on in the entire world. She was trying to touch the tops of the trees... And she almost did it. Pure joy.

Monday, April 4, 2016

ISO professional potty trainer

And just like that a month has passed since my last post. When last I wrote I mentioned the possibility of a post dedicated to Summy Potty Training Skills. I put out that teaser and then left my 3 readers hanging. Like a Grey's Anatomy season finale cliff hanger. Right?!? Well get out your popcorn cause here it is. I know this is going to go down as one of the most helpful and inspiring "how-to" parenting blog posts in history....or not.

Let me start by saying. God bless the potty training parents of the world. It is an ugly business. All the bad emotions and inner demons come out during this time. And not just from the toddlers. We are all doing this and we all feel each other's pain. Some more than others.

I should also say, in an effort to not completely harp on my first world problems, Thank you Lord that we have toilets that require training to use. I have seen pictures of what people in less developed societies have to use as their "facilities" and it just makes me want to cry for them. Our toilets are a blessing and a gift from God and therefore should be approached with respect. (Side note: There is something to think about ladies the next time you are on your knees scrubbing that blessed gift and wanting to curse your precious son because, while he has perfect aim with a nerf gun, somehow his aim is less than perfect when and where it counts.) Where was I?

Ah yes. Approach that throne with respect. This is the exact point I have been trying to make to my 3 year old for months now. Does she respect the toilet? Absolutely not. In fact, I think she truly believes there is a horrific poop eating monster living in it. That is the only logical explanation for the wailing and gnashing of teeth that come with every suggestion that she might want to try and potty before bed/dinner/snack/school/nap. Every time. Every day.

The Battleground

Now if you know me personally you have heard my feelings on potty training. I am not shy about it. This is my 3rd child to go through this with and I still hate it. I have no skills. No knowledge. No tricks of the trade. This is an ugly dirty battle and sadly each of my children have fought this battle very differently. Every time I want to just wave the white flag and surrender. I find myself thinking, "They are doing amazing things with Pull Ups these days. Some of those nighttime pants go up to like 60lbs. Darling child, if you want to go to Middle School wearing soggy Depends.... be my guest." While I'm perfectly fine buying stock in Pull Ups, my husband (the constant voice of reason) is not keen on the idea of letting them just naturally transition from child diapers to adult diapers.... so potty training it is.

There are a couple schools of thought on this issue. I have many friends that prefer the "boot camp" method. This is where you just put underwear on an unsuspecting toddler and all hunker down for a week until the kid manages to keep himself dry. I do know that works for some. And possibly could for me, but I am much too lazy for that plan of attack. That takes hard core mental focus to stay on task everyday and then there's all the cleaning up after the accidents. I would lose it and the authorities would take my children away from me.

I prefer the more lazy, haphazard approach of pull ups/training pants. As in, you CAN use them as underwear and I would love for you to go to the potty and practice pulling them up and down on your own. But lets be real, you are gonna pee in it like a diaper out of spite and thankfully my couch will be saved when you do so. However, even with this method there comes a time when you have to "poop or get off the pot" (pun intended, obviously). This is where we are. We have been coasting along with pull ups for long enough and now its time to rip off the band-aid and go straight to underwear. And guys, we are so close. Really we are. But this is when I start flailing. I have no plan. She knows it and I know it. I've tried everything.

1. Encouragement - "Yay! hip hip hooray! Louisa pee'ed in the potty! High five!!" Then there are songs and clapping. She liked this at first, but then she started looking at me with pity. You know, like she was embarrassed for me.

2. Bribery - We have potty charts that you get stickers every time you go. And not lame old school star stickers. No way.... Sofia the First stickers. And when you get 10 Sofia stickers you get a treat. And if you poop... well then we drop everything and go get ice cream. She lost interest in the stickers after 2 days. And then we moved on to suckers for every successful trip to the potty. That seems to be a hit at least for "number 1". BUT, In 4 months we have been to the ice cream shop once. One time. Last week. Im so tired.
I fully support bribery. This is no time to be taking the moral high road of parenting.
It's every man for himself.

3. Entertainment - This is when things start to get a little weird. But honestly Im desperate. To keep her on the toilet for longer than 3 seconds I have to get creative. Sometimes I sing or dance. There have been times when I stand on my head or cross my eyes and promise to stay that way until she pees (or until I get a horrible headache which ever comes first.) Usually we recite the ABCs or count to 20 or I get real smart and say "what's that? did you hear that? listen and see if we hear it again." It really is embarrassing.

4. Shame - Ok so, this is the point when we have both lost the will to live. I have nothing left to give and have moved so far past desperate that I crack. I start saying things like "Do you really want to be the ONLY kid in your class that doesn't go to the potty?" or "Oh well, I guess you are still a baby and we will just have to go back to real diapers." I know, I know. Im a horrible mom. But you guys don't know! You weren't there! She just looks at you with cold dead eyes and says "i don't care". She is like a gangster. Nothing rattles her.

5. Anger - enough said. Emotions run high. It gets loud. And then we must go to our separate corners. Tomorrow is a new day. Put a diaper on, say "i love you",  and get thee to bed. Mama needs a coke and chocolate.

It's all good. We will make it. We have done it before. We have already been that family with the almost 4 year old in diapers doing the walk of shame to the church nursery to be changed. It's super humbling, but it will pass. And one day when she is 16 and I am telling all her friends about these memories we will have a great laugh (well she may not... but you know payback can be rough).