Tuesday, April 11, 2017

That Time I Wrote a Post and Forgot to Actually Post It... Which Sums Up Me as a Person

It's Sunday night and I'm just sitting here recapping my weekend and Im pretty content.

We had a full weekend, but not so full that I feel overly tired from it. I realize that makes me sound like a 90 year old women, rating my weekend based on how tired I feel. But it is what it is and let's not forget I'll be 39 this year which is basically 90 anyway.

The weekend began with the Mother/Son Olympics Friday afternoon immediately after school. Ahhh, Elementary School Olympics, doesn't that just sound right up my alley? No, no it does not. I am not the least bit athletic, and between you and me, neither are the rest of my family. (Sorry guys. Mommy loves you!) Anyway, my son was SUPER pumped about this event, and being the loving and doting mom that I am (I just laughed at myself) I signed us up and we were given our spot on the purple team.

Purple. The color of fierce competitors.

We dominated at things like tug of war (thanks stubborn holiday weight) and the 3 legged race, but things got ugly when we made it to the dreaded hippity hop race. No mother of 3 has any business being on a hippity hop. That is the moral of this story. My husband videoed me at this, my lowest point in months, and for this reason he is currently dead to me.

Even though it took 3 ibuprofen to get over the experience, my son's smile and complete happiness was kind of worth it. So I'm gonna chalk that up to a Mom win.

Y'all. I just noticed that my team sticker was upside
down the whole time.Gah. That is classic.

Team Summy ready to kick tail in the 3 legged race

Saturday morning started early with Amelia's Association Bible Drill. I was not a bible driller and so I am super impressed, by these kids and their ability to memorize scripture, and in the King James Version, no less. Amazing. She passed and will be heading to the State Drill so pretty soon she will be the considered the most spiritually educated member of our family.

After a quick lunch out (thanks to another Lent Loophole gift card) we headed to Amelia's violin recital. It was pretty much the day for Amelia spread joy with all of her talents and our family's version of T-ball games and Soccer tournaments.

We came home after the recital feeling accomplished and enjoying a breather before hanging out and having dinner with our small group when I decided to check out what was going on in Instagram world. That's when I saw that several people were posting pics of this awesome birthday party. And by several people, pretty much everyone we know. And then I remembered why we had a few minutes to chill between activities.... we were supposed to be at that birthday party. Classic. Just when I think I'm juggling everything pretty well... a forgotten party, a forgotten field trip form, a forgotten child (just kidding. I almost never forget my children.)

Today was great. A wonderful Palm Sunday with our church family made complete thanks to Louisa shouting "Hosanna!" repeatedly all the way home. It was a beautiful day and we did what we do best which was be lazy. The kids played in the yard and I watched Netflix.

I ventured out only to shop for an Easter dress which was a dismal experience at best. I tried on 25 dresses and walked away with pants and a shirt that I am certain my grandmother would wear. But like I said, I am turning 39 this year so I guess that's to be expected.

April 2014
I seriously just picked up my plate and licked it. I really hope my kids didn't see that.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

When Searching for More Makes You Satisfied with Less

Last year I decided to do something that scared me and submit and essay to a magazine. It was sort of a bucket list item of mine and there happened to be a contest in one of my favorite publications so I figured, why not?!?

My entry was not selected, but I am still pretty proud of myself for trying and putting myself out there to be judged. It is so unlike me to do so.

So here it is, my story of how a small decision changed my life dramatically.

When Searching for More Makes You Satisfied with Less
By Annah Mary Summy

Sometimes the most dramatic change in your life doesn’t feel like the most dramatic at the time. It can take years before you can see its effect and how that road led you in such a different trajectory than you had planned. 

I grew up as the oldest child of a typical middle class family. My mom worked outside of the home for most of my life. I watched my mom through the years and it was clear that she never loved her job. No, she didn’t openly dislike what she did every day, and I am sure she always had a smile on her face around her coworkers. But when she came home at night she was always tired and defeated and I believe she wished she could just be at home doing the things that made her happy. Seeing her struggle with this made a significant impression on me. I decided, early in life, that I would do whatever it would take to find a job I loved, be successful, and enjoy going to work every day. That was the plan. Everything else would be gravy.

Luckily, while in college I met a man who completely supported my plan. He loved me and my big ideas for the future. I thought of myself a feminist back then, although this was based on nothing more than a desire to work out side the home, achieve my career goals, and earn as much respect (if not money) as my husband. Part of that deal meant sharing the household workload 50/50, which seemed to be a solid home economics plan. We split the laundry down the middle and took turns making dinner. But everything in your first year of marriage was more fun and romantic when you did it together, even the household chores. So we did it all together. We cooked together, exercised together, grocery shopped together, did laundry together, and dreamed big dreams together.  It was a simple way to approach marriage and it worked beautifully.

After grad school we moved to Memphis eager to begin our lives as official grown ups. Steve began his work in the medical device industry, while I began making my mark in the advertising community. I job-hopped for a few years before finally landing as an in-house designer in the corporate world of finance. I loved the unusual combo of creative design plus the corporate perks of a nice salary, decent benefits, and a fancy cubicle I pretended was “my office”.  My career was on track, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of wanting more.

More was on the way. Less than 9 months later, our first daughter was born. And just like that, I was a mom. She was beautiful and healthy and I was terrified of her. How was I going to be a mother and manage everything else? After spending a life altering six weeks on maternity leave, I returned to work a sleep deprived, weepy mess. My new reality of juggling work and motherhood was the hardest thing I had ever done. 

Work became my personal oasis. It was a welcomed break from the constant crying, the spit up, and the dirty diapers. I felt guilty being away from her; but worse, I felt guilty for enjoying being away from her. I eventually got over the guilt and savored being back in a quiet office, wearing “real” clothes (albeit covered in spit up), and engaging in adult conversations, while Amelia spent her days with more qualified caregivers.

We found the holy grail of daycare centers. It was close to home and the hours were wonderful. The fact that they adored my chubby faced angel was just icing on the cake. People say that parenting “takes a village” and my village was First Baptist Day School. By the time she was 6 months old, we had settled comfortably into our new life. Our daily schedule began to run like a well-oiled machine again.

I have since learned that parents should never get too comfortable, because that is the moment things start unraveling. The next year was filled with ear infections, stomach viruses, and random childhood illnesses like Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease. (Not to be confused with Hoof and Mouth disease. I learned that one the hard way.) I was quickly introduced to the daycare’s “24 hour fever free rule” that states “A child must be fever for 24 hours before returning to school.” While I appreciated the need for this rule, I also found it terribly inconvenient.

Amelia had close to ten ear infections during her first 2 years and ran significant fever with each one. As you can imagine, my sick/personal day bank was depleted very quickly. We were constantly shuffling around trying to find people to watch her until she passed the fever free test. Our well-oiled machine was breaking down and that’s when some serious discussions started taking place in the Summy household.

Our tidy arrangement was being challenged. He talked about his expectations for our family, and I realized they were completely different than my own. He liked the idea of our children growing up with their mom always around. I desperately wanted to do the work I loved AND be a mother. We had reached our first major marital roadblock. It was clear that compromises needed to be made; yet neither party was willing to sacrifice. After many loud debates, we finally agreed that I would continue to work; however, the responsibility of finding childcare would fall completely on me. He was washing his hands of this particular task, and  it was a trade-off I was willing to accept in order to succeed in my career. 

But something had started to change. There was a shift that had taken place in my head and, more importantly, my heart. Suddenly, I was less fulfilled by the daily grind. The view from my cubicle wasn’t quite as picturesque and I had trouble staying focused in meetings. The recognition from by boss that I once so desperately craved was no longer as meaningful. I still enjoyed the creative outlet, but I quickly became resentful of the time it took away from my family. I knew I was not excelling at either job and something had to be done.  

It took me a while to admit my feelings to Steve (or even to myself). When I finally let him in on my struggle, we spent the next several months praying and exhaustively pro/conning all of the options. Being married to an engineer means no significant decision in our life is resolved in less than six months. During this time of limbo, I was impossible to be around. My feelings were worn externally like accessories that could be seen from miles away. I agonized over giving up the career that I had chased since I was a teenager. I was mourning the loss of the “Me” I was striving to be. 

“What if I was bored by being mommy all day? 
“What if I resented my child for this sacrifice?”
“What if I lost my identity?” 
These shame filled questions became my private conversations with God. I had no other option but to pray over and over for God to bless this decision.

In January 2009, with much trepidation, I made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom. I took a leap of faith having no idea what this new reality would look. I definitely didn’t expect it to dramatically change the way I viewed the world.

The days were hard at first. I had no schedule and no way to measure my progress. My boss was a 3 year old and she rarely gave me useful feedback. I ran test studies on how many days in a row I could wear an outfit before someone noticed. I began watching the Food Network religiously, until I was as confident a cook as Ina and Giada. Life soon became a fast paced whirlwind of babies and toddlers, preschool and carpool, and (for the love) potty training. Without realizing it, I developed a spirit of contentment in those everyday tasks of cooking, cleaning, nurturing, and encouraging my family. As a mother of three now, I can’t remember ever taking time to lament over the loss of my career. (Although I do miss the lunches and quiet time at my desk.) Slowly, my priorities and life goals changed. 

I’ve spent everyday of the last seven years trying to find my way as a mom. It has been a difficult and exciting journey. I don’t have the personality to successfully pull off the working mom’s life. Those mothers have such a special, God given gift to perform on a very high level every day. That is not my gift, and I know that now. I also know that this job that I so adamantly opposed is so much more than carpool and feeding hungry mouths. It is an opportunity to be the most prominent voice in my children’s heads. I get to fill them with all my best words, guide them with love, and then sit back and watch them grow. 

This is the “more” for which I had been searching. The decision to walk away from my dream to be at home has affected the way I approach every day of my life. I have found my niche in serving others through serving my kids and telling my story along the way. I get to live the mom life my mother wanted, and I am so proud to honor her in that way.  

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Motherhood: The years are short, but the days are long (unless you are having fun).

These days and and weeks go by fast when life is going good. Do you guys feel that too?

It's spring and the weather is beautiful and all the fabulous blooms are on the trees. The days are longer but seem to go by faster because we can get out and enjoy it.

I find it funny that time passes so quickly when we are happy and practically stands still during the difficult times.

Steve was out of town last weekend. While I couldn't really call it a dark and difficult time in my life as compared to all of the sadness and hurting that many of my friends are experiencing, it was a little bit harder than my usual. And those 3 days felt like a month.

Time just seems to crawl along when you are being stretched. Keeping 3 kids (and myself) alive and fed and chauffeured to all of the places was a stretch for me. I usually have a partner that I can tag when I need a break and that partner was on the beach with his buddies... I'm promise I'm not bitter. Anymore.

So this week has been all about playing catch up. Catching up on the things that I pushed aside during the craziness of last week.

Here is a random fact about me...I live my life with a to do list in my head that never gets smaller. It is always growing and so I never finish it. I am always feeling guilty about what I should be doing at the moment and always always feel behind. It is an exhausting way to live and I need to stop. It goes something like this.

Today I should be outside enjoying the beautiful day. 

I should be exercising. 

I should be mopping the kids bathroom floor because it is sticky and that makes me afraid to go in there without wearing shoes.

I should be folding laundry.

I should be catching up on reading for one of the 4 bible studies in which I am currently a taking part. Why have I committed to 4 bible studies at the same time? Did I subconsciously think that would make me more holy? I don't know why I do these things. 

I should be deleting unread emails because I have such a gigantic amount that it makes some of my friends angry when they see the notifications on my phone. 

I should be returning impulse buys to target and overdue library books. 

Those are the things on my imaginary to do list.

What I actually did today was go to a parent/teacher conference for my 4 year old. It was nice to hear lots of positive feed back and now I feel a little more like a capable parent.

I took that positive thinking and I went to Whole Foods to replace a bottle of eucalyptus oil that I threw away in a one of my random cleaning fits. (Yes my cleaning comes in spastic fits.)

I also bought some of my favorite chicken salad and just ate it on crackers without so much as a plate or napkin. Like a cave person. It was so still delicious. (I know what you are thinking. What about Lent? Well this is a Lent loop hole since technically the rule is no eating at a restaurant, but since WF is a grocery store I think it is legal.)

(Yes I now realize I need to be in serious prayer about the fact that I am searching for "Lent Loopholes". Y'all Lent is long. And thanks to the stretching I mentioned earlier, it seems even longer. Like I feel certain we are on day 81.)

For my next procrastination project I decided to tackle the pile of paper/mail/junk on my kitchen counter. Do you guys have one of these piles? If you don't, I don't know how are you living your life so well, and I need you to come and mentor me....ASAP. The kitchen pile is a thorn in my flesh. It haunts me daily and I can't seem to get rid of it.

Every now and then I go through it and throw away things that have expired or no longer make sense to keep. But just like my email inbox, 20 more will be dropped in their place before the day is over. There has to be some metaphor about my life here, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

I think I will spend the rest of my kid free hours looking up Kids' Summer Camp information and trying to play calendar Tetris to make it work with everyone's schedules. That should take up the last hour before I begin the afternoon carpool shenanigans.

Or maybe I will just sit down and read a book.

March 2012
Quote from our dinner table discussion: "Walt, you smell like 2000 skunk trash"
The ultimate 6 year old insult.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Spring break is here and we are finally wearing coats.

Spring break is officially here. It was time. We all needed it. Therefore everyone in the house is doing their best to stay horizontal and in their pjs as much as possible today.

It's been a few weeks and I'm checking in. It's been a good few weeks. Nothing monumental, but busy. I'll try to hit the highlights in reverse order, because that is how my brain is working today.

1. My daughter started a blog today. It's equal parts precious and exciting. Even though I am in no way a successful blogger, I feel a little proud that she has seen me do something and wants to do it too. She is 11. She hasn't tried to be like me since she was 4. So yeah, this is a pretty big deal to me.

It's a food blog. Her goal is to help me cook dinner, photograph our meals, and write about the experience. In the wake of some pretty epic pre-tween arguments in the last few weeks, this feels like the glimmer of hope I needed. I am the blog administrator and editor which, if regularly read this blog, you know is comical. Editors should have grammar and sentence structure skills, which I don't, unless compared to a 5th grader, which I guess makes this the perfect set up.

I'm not sharing the actual blog with the public for safety reasons. I want her to be able to write and not worry about people knowing her identity. Parenting in the information/digital age is so exhausting.

2. Lent. I grew up super Baptist. Born and raised and born again.... So Lent was a foreign concept to me. In college I remember it being a cool thing to "give up things for Lent", but since those sacrificed things were usually Coke or chocolate, it really seemed more like a Catholic based diet plan than a religious experience.

After listening to the She Reads Truth gals discuss the meaning behind the lent season with Annie Downs on her podcast "That Sound Fun with Annie F. Downs" I decided to look more seriously at the concept of putting aside a delight for a season in order practice leaning into and finding delight in Christ. So I am following along with the SRT ladies as they go through the book of Isaiah. So far so great.

Also, in the spirit of sacrifice, our family has decided to not eat out during Lent. We will eat all meals at home and stick to strict grocery budget. You might be thinking that doesn't sound like much of a sacrifice, but you obviously under estimate how often we eat out and how haphazardly I grocery shop. I make all food decisions based on my current appetite and therefore regularly hit up Chick Fil A and Starbucks on a whim. All that to say, this experience will be out of my comfort zone which is a good thing for exercising my "find contentment in Christ" muscles.

3. Moms' trip. Last weekend I went to Starkville (cue the angels singing the Hallelujah chorus) for a sorority reunion. A girls trip for moms is already a dream, but when the destination is literally the place where dreams came true, it makes it that much sweeter. I love any chance to visit Mississippi State because almost every single memory I have from there is a good one.

My girls Betsy and Cheryl. We have been friends for 20 years.
I don't even know how that is possible since we are only 19. 

So there I was having a great time reminiscing with great friends when I get a call from my son. You see I had missed W's last basketball game for trip which is sad, but I had arranged for grandparents to be there in my place. Not that it matters, but W's team had not won a game all year. They play hard but always came up short. Also, W had not ever scored in a game because he is actually short. Anyway, when I answer the phone he is on the other end talking so fast with excitement. Not only did they win their game, but he even scored! So happy for him. So sad I missed it. That is always my luck. Thank goodness my mom was there to capture a post game smile.

4. We survived another Dr. Seuss Week. I have made my feelings about dress up weeks pretty clear on this blog. Not much left to say about it except I'm glad it is in the past. But here is a picture of my Star Belly Sneetch and Fox in Socks. Despite my feelings on the subject, they always seem to look cute.

5.  I started a new book. And I love it. Rebekah Lyons is adorable and funny and I fell in love with her story when I heard her speak at the Broken and Free Tour. I got the ticket because I love Christy Nockels and Ann Voskamp, but I left with Rebekah's book. Read it. Enjoy it.

I'm sure more has happened in the last few weeks but those are the things that come to mind at the moment. I feel pretty sure that I will have more thoughts on my lent experience since we are only on day 13 of 47. The CFA withdrawals haven't even kicked in and we still have to make it through Spring Break with no fast food.

As for coffee, I'm already researching ways to make my own homemade version of a Mocha Frappuccino.

March 2016
It's very humbling when you over sleep and come downstairs to find your 10 year old is better at adulting than you are.

Friday, February 17, 2017

I'm 38 and Still a Little Scared of Teachers

It's only 12:38pm and today has already been a day. An emotional day. A day with lots of feelings.

Ya'll, parenting is kind of, you know, hard. There I said it. And I don't mean it in the sarcastic and  funny "meme about mom's drinking wine out of sippy cups to get by" kind of way, but genuinely difficult.

I spent the morning at a parent/teachers conference. (You read that right, teacherS....with an "S". Because there is nothing more intimidating than a meeting with a teacher...except a meeting with 2 teachers.) There were many feelings after that meeting, but one surprising one was relief. Sometimes it's nice to know that everyone is on the same page and just wants what's best for the kids. All the other feelings were made better by an immediate trip to Starbucks. (Because Priorities.)

I then went to Kroger to gather all the goodies for my daughter's birthday weekend. I walked the aisles struggling with the resentment of buying ingredients and making recipe plans to celebrate the one who made it possible for me to meet with 2 teachers earlier today. Don't get me wrong, all of my kids' teachers are quite friendly and very very good at their job, but I have always been a bit nervous around administrators and I strictly avoid confrontation as a rule. Needless to say, I was a bit out of my comfort zone this AM. Thus the bitterness.

So there I am roaming around Kroger dealing with my feelings with ear buds in my ears when I get an encouraging text from a Godly friend. I had sent a text novella to my core group of friends and they had all responded with wonderful mom encouragement. (side note: all moms need friends like these.) But this one friend said exactly what I was thinking at that moment....

"This parenting gig leaves little rest for the weary. Sometimes I wish we were back in the toddler/newborn stage." 

Isn't that just exactly it? I just started crying right there next to the marshmallows. I really never thought I would long for those sleep deprived, spit up covered days. When they were babies, I dreamed of a time when I would get to sleep 7 hours at night and wake up to an alarm clock instead of a crying infant. I looked forward to taking showers and putting on make-up and jeans that buttoned and going to exciting places like Kroger, Target, and (dream of all dreams) Starbucks all by myself.

I just knew that once I made it past this "just keep everyone alive" stage that I will have made it to the easy part of parenthood. (I can hear my mom laughing all the way from Mississippi right now.) I really never thought about what kind of personalities they would have or how that would play out in the future. Well, maybe I did, but I think I just assumed they would be awesome. (because obviously) 

I thought that I would be so great at this parenting thing that they would become perfected little versions of me and Steve. Only our good parts and none of our bad parts. Little people that would light up any room. They would be kind and funny and caring and love God and love people and (even though they constantly fought with each other at home and disobeyed us from time to time) would be model citizens in the world. They would be PERFECT.

How completely naive and unfair of me.

I don't really remember myself in the 5th grade. I mean, I remember 5th grade and my friends and the people around me, but I can't really remember what I was like. I am pretty sure I had an attitude and was (if not already) on my way to being a royal jerk to my mother. (I'm so sorry mom.) I'm pretty sure I tried desperately to fit in by wearing blue eye shadow and getting an extreme Mariah Carey perm (that lasted 5 days until the first time I washed it). But I don't remember what kind of friend I was. Was I a push over or the Regina George of the group? Did I make people feel better or worse about themselves? Was I a motivated student or just barely getting the job done? It's hard to tell, that was so long ago and my memory is fuzzy. (If any you guys knew me back then, feel free to chime in... or maybe not.) 

I tried to find pictures of myself in middle school/Jr. High, but I don't seem to have any pictorial evidence of that glorious time. If my memory serves me well, I believe I looked something like this girl in the movie 13 Going on 30 only less adorable and with poofier bangs. (And I would have never been allowed to wear that off the shoulder number.)

Oh wait... actually a little more like this....

Yep that looks about right. Middle school was a tough time for me.

Anyway, It's unfair of me to put unrealistic expectations on my kids when I struggled with the same issues growing up (and lets face it. I'm still struggling with some of these. Except for the perm. No one is trying to look like Mariah anymore.) I think as parents (and possibly even more as Christian parents) we expect our children to be perfect, because that is how we have always seen them. We don't want to believe that they, too, have been affected by the sinful world.

It is crazy humbling when they don't live up to our perfectionist expectations and other people are present to witness it. (And then have a conference with you about it.) It's embarrassing. It makes me feel like a parenting failure. I wish they could just obey, for the sake of my reputation. It's the least they could do for the one who changed their diapers, right? I say I love them unconditionally, but deep down I make a selfish list of conditions. Then God shows me those prideful conditions get in the way of love and grace.

/ / / / /

Today I planned to sit down to write about the day Amelia was born. Something I have wanted to write about each of my kids for a while. I want to remember every detail of that special day that I became a mom. But when I sat down, this is what came out instead. I guess this was my own personal little therapy session. If you read every word of this, you should charge me some sort of psychiatrist fee. Of course, I would have to pay you in baked good laced with resentment.

I'm going to go now and make sugar cookies in the shape of a lego head (whatever) because I love my almost 11 year old and she is, in fact, awesome in her own way. I love her for who she is today and who she will become. She's growing and the Lord is working in her life (and in all their lives) in ways that I can not understand. That's scary for me, but I trust that He's got this.

Because I am beginning to realize I DO NOT have this and I am thankful that is okay.

February 2016
"You guys stop fighting! Just pretend each other doesn't exist. You are all only children today!" Excellent parenting skills today.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Well, hello February... What? You've been here all week? My bad.

I had big plans to restart on February 1st since January was so cray cray. But then I looked up and its February 8th. This is shocking for a couple of reasons...

1. Time just flies at lightening speed these days and I seem to be standing still watching it zoom by. Like in those dreams when you try to move but your feet are made of lead or something? Or maybe that is not a common dream and only something my crazy mind cooks up... in that case please forget what I just said.

And 2. Because mother nature has decided to take some time off and left the weather to do whatever it wants regardless of what season we are in. Yesterday it was 75 degrees. On February 7th. And today is almost the same. I had to search for shorts for my son two days in a row. Again... in February. And let me tell you, we do not have extra school appropriate pants/shorts to spare around here. We try to survive on the bare minimum of school uniforms in the Summy house. It's our own little way of reducing our materialistic footprint or something. Or maybe it is just because I'm cheap. yeah that's probably it.

So here we are in the second week of February and the past month just seems like a blur. Except for the part about the new driveway. Have I mentioned that we need a new driveway? Probably not, it's not usually a great conversation starter. But we did need a new one and thanks to a tree root vs. water pipe issue that dream was realized a lot sooner than we anticipated. It was a whole "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" situation. (You guys know that book right? If you give a mouse a cookie, he will want to build a new driveway.)

It began with a complete overhaul of our outdoor plumbing which left a gigantic hole in our (already tree root infested) driveway.

That led to the removal of the trees with the problematic roots, which let to the excavation of the entire driveway, which led to an issue with the irrigation system. All that means is... lots and lots of digging and lots and lots of mud.

The final piece to driveway is a beautiful new concrete extravaganza. I use that word because it makes it sound more exciting and worthy of the fact that it cost as much as the new kitchen I had been dreaming about for years. But I know there is something to be said for a solid foundation or whatever.

The driveway is very nice and smooth and pebbly and all the other things you want in a small personal road. (I promise Im not bitter. I really am thankful. Really I am.) I don't have any finished product pictures because he yard is still a hot mess. (literally. Gah Mother Nature. Just stop it now.)

However, because I know everyone is dying for some visual aids... Here is a picture of the muddy process. Be very jealous.

These are the trees that caused all the problems. Sure they are beautiful and
perfect for a hammock, but don't be fooled....they have evil roots.

This is a horrible picture because I was taking shelter
inside my house while large trees were falling in my yard.
These tree cutting men are amazing or crazy...
mostly crazy.

Again I'm hiding. I hid during most of this process.
Usually in the fetal position. This is the digging up
the driveway portion of the process. That machine
peeled up that asphalt like it was paper.

Ready for the concrete. Where will the concrete truck drive when there
is no drive way? Funny you should ask. 

Lets just drive the heaviest truck known to man on these lovely people's
yard. Yeah that will work. No it won't. You know what you have to use
to move a concrete truck thats stuck in the mud? Another concrete truck.

Moving right along. A little bit at a time. With an
obnoxious about of micromanaging by the homeowners.
We are the worst people to work for. I know this.

Here you can see some of the finished product while they pour the walkway.

Now wasn't that just the most interesting thing you have read in the last 5 minutes? Probably not, but now you know a little bit more about why my brain can not really process anything that happened last month.

But as I sit here typing away in Starbucks there are more men working hard on our yard and trying to get things back to normal for our family. I am very grateful for the hard work of so many nice men during this. They are all very good at their respective jobs and are even good with putting up with the special type of crazy that I bring to the table. That is a true gift from the Lord.

So I guess that is all for this edition of Yard Crashers. I hope you enjoyed it. I think I am about to enjoy a little blueberry muffin and latte and call it 2nd breakfast (or 1st lunch) since it is 11:17.

More to come as we prepare for the 5th grader's upcoming birthday hoopla. Stay tuned!

January 2014
Friends with no kids... Enjoy the process of simply getting out of your car and casually walking into your house. I miss that.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Inconvenience of Literacy

Here is something I wasn't expecting. At the age of 38 I have discovered a fondness of reading. This is pretty strange considering I have been completely opposed to reading for most of my life. A fact that was made evident by my super low English grades in Middle, Jr., and Sr. High as well as during my 5 (ahem) years in college. It's cool. I eventually graduated all the necessary grades to be a functioning adult. Anyway....

I wouldn't say it's a fully developed love of the written word, but it's on the way. In other words, we have been on a couple dates and are getting very close to having the important DTR conversation. The attractive thing about reading that I recently discovered is that when you get to read something you find interesting it can actually be fun. (Mind blown. Right?!?)

What I find interesting is people and their lives. This led to the reading of mom blogs. Oddly enough, Blog reading came AFTER I started writing a blog of my own. (I'm sure that most people don't start writing a blog before actually reading blogs or anything really, but that is just who I am. I like to do things the hard way.) Reading about all of those moms and their familiar lives led to reading memoirs. I had no idea the memoir genre existed and I certainly had no idea that they would be something that would interest me. The word suggests sappy sad stories about old people who have passed their prime, but it turns out anyone can write a memoir including young, interesting, and (most importantly) funny people.

Now you are speaking my entertainment love language.

So any way now I'm reading all the memoirs and all the blogs and listening to all the podcasts. My introverted self just wants to hang out in my room all day and read all the things. Sure the kids need dinner and baths, but Mama's got a super important Presidential podcast to listen to and books about what it's like to be Lauren Graham and How NOT to raise entitled kids to read. Here's some frozen pizza and some baby wipes.... I may need an intervention... eventually.

People who know me, I know what you are thinking.... "Who are you?!?"

It's super weird, right? I don't even recognize myself anymore. But it's cool because my new obsession means I can do what I love while wearing leggings and my favorite Ugg slippers and that makes me very very happy.

Here's a few things I'm enjoying and looking forward to enjoying...

I mentioned last time that I just finished reading Bossy Pants by Tina Fey. And you know I loved it.

I finished Sophie Hudson's Giddy Up, Eunice right before reading Bossy Pants. I love Sophie and I genuinely believe we could be best friends. Except for the fact that we don't actually know each other. Anyway Eunice is a great book on the importance of generational friendships, something I've had on my heart recently.

Ok so this book isn't necessarily funny, but I am really enjoying it. I am a child of the 80s and 90s and so Kimberly Williams-Paisley is one of my Romantic Comedy idols. The Father of the Bride movies are among the most watched of my comfort movies. I love the inside look into her life and career and marriage to cutie Brad Paisley. But it's the story of her mom's battle with dementia that really tugs at your heart. This disease hits pretty close to home for me so I have to read this one in spurts when I'm in a good mood and able to handle the seriousness of the subject.

 Home Is Where My People Are is the next Sophie Hudson book I am diving into. I have been obsessed with Boo Mama and her buddy Big Mama (Melanie Shankle) for a while thanks to their blogs and podcast and I won't stop until l have read all the words they have to say.

 So, This one is not a shocker. Loralei Gilmore wrote a book and I must read it. And I love the title.

I found Melanie Dale on twitter this summer and immediately wanted to be a fly on the wall of what ever room she is in. She is hilarious and real and has a great blog and podcast as well.

These last two books look interesting and life affirming which is always good.

And then there are the podcasts. Where have these been all my life? Here are the 3 I am totally into at this moment....

Do yourself a favor and get to know The Popcast with Knox and Jamie. You're Welcome.

I love Jamie Ivey. She is so bubbly and charming and is great at interviewing some awesome women.
And BONUS the word on the street is she is writing a book!

This Presidential podcast was suggested by Jamie Golden of the Popcast. I started listening to it on Friday (Inauguration Day) as kind of a "let's remember where we have been and how far we have come, America" in order to be a little less stressed out by the current political climate. 

I started with the Bushes (but have since listened to others and they are all so good) because as I have mentioned before, I love me some George Bush. It is what is, y'all. I can't explain it, wait yes I can...Did you see how cute he was with his rain pancho at the Inauguration? 

Even Cheney seemed to get a chuckle out of it.

So as you can see, I wan't kidding. The new obsession is a real one. Don't worry or call child protective services just yet. Things will level out soon and I will be back to running around crazy with my kids and spending all my down time watching Netflix. Right now, I am just enjoying this time when my body desires to be still and mind is thirsty for information. It's good to try something different every now and then.... even if it is reading. But as always, everything in moderation.

 Besides, I've got a reputation to protect.

January 2015
I just went in to brush my teeth... And then I started flossing, and plucking my eyebrows, and cleaning out my pores, and then I lost track of time for a couple of hours. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What do Carseats and Library Fines have in common? My glamorous life.

So I'm homebound today with a sick child. Same child. Same sickness as before. She's sweet and a pretty easy patient if you don't count the cleaning up of the vomit. I paused for a second trying to decide if I should actually type that gross word, but couldn't really come up with a less offensive alternative. Also, sometimes being a parent is just gross.

I don't want to me dramatic... except yes I do... but I feel like you haven't really been inducted into the society of motherhood until you have cleaned a vomit soaked car seat. Y'all. This is no small feat. I have heard that there are some lucky parents out there (and I do mean lucky because there is no other explanation) that have never actually experienced this. (I am comforted by the thought that these people will end up with a very poopy puppy one day to make up for this.) There are other people (aka the Summys) who have had more than their share of carseat vomit. I have taken apart and a washed and reassembled carseats no less than 20 times since having kids. It's painstaking and disgusting and I hope to receive a special reward in heaven because of my faithfulness to keeping my kids safe and clean as we ride to school/church/ChickFilA and back.

PSA for the day:  I will say, if you are reading this and in the market for a carseat Britax seats are not only our favorite for safety reasons, but the covers are very easy to remove and reattach which makes all the difference. While I'm pushing particular products... Chicco infant seats are our other favorites for the same reasons.

The good thing (if you have to pick a good thing about your child being sick. I felt like I needed to add that little disclaimer so I don't look like I enjoy sick children) about being homebound is that I didn't have to go to the gym today. I'm apparently boycotting exercise these days. Which is super inconvenient because I'm also supposedly trying to lose weight. I say supposedly because we all know that when you get this close to 40 there is no hope of losing weight without the hard core combo of very strict diet and extreme workouts and I'm not actually doing either of those things. sigh. Just typing those words was exhausting.

I'm hoping this boycott ends and I can get myself back to the gym soon if for no other reason than most of my Christmas gifts involved some type of athletic wear. Before the holidays I was super motivated to workout and was excited to start the year off with new gym clothes and a "Can do it!" attitude. I'm still recovering from the holidays, but I'm certain that motivation will return eventually.

Until then, these new clothes are also great for going to Kroger, cleaning the house, and sitting on the couch to finish a good book.

Today I FINALLY finished Tina Fey's hilarious Bossy Pants. I checked this book out from the library months ago. That's right, I said months. If you are thinking, "Wow! that's a super long time for someone to have a library book", you would be right. I have renewed the book as many times as it allowed and have been holding it hostage since the last due date (December 18th) knowing full well that I was being charged $.10 for every additional day. If you have done the math then you know that is a full 30 days and $3.00. I rationalized to myself that as long as I didn't pay more in late fees than the book was worth on Amazon, then I was still being "smart".

"Smart" is a relative term.

But I finished it and I really did love this book. I have no idea why it took me so long to finish it. Yes I do....Kids. School. Homework. Lunches. Baths. Church. Cooking. Cleaning. ReCleaning. More Cooking. and Bible Study (this is a big one because I have a personal rule that I can't read anything secular until I have read my Bible that day and sometimes that was very late in the day... or honestly the next day). I have lots of respect for Tina Fey and enjoyed her storytelling. Of course there was some abrasive language, but I overall appreciate her down to earth outlook. And of course... she is ridiculously funny.

So that is my day in a nutshell plus a few product advertisements which should make my dad proud because it's almost like I used my college degree. Almost. Not really. Sorry Dad.

Have a great day and if you are reading this say a little prayer that none of the other family members gets sick. Or if they do, that they manage to wait until after they get out of the car. Thanks.

January 2014
Cleaning a house that is under construction seems completely pointless and overwhelmingly necessary at the same time.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Just Shy of Creepy Mom Status

Tonight I did weird thing.

I went into my 3 year old's room while she was sleeping and I picked her up and went into a different room to rock her in the dark. I promise I'm not usually a weirdo mom. You know, like that creepy mom in the children's book "I'll Love You Forever". I could never read that book to my kids because the thought of an 80 year old women crawling through the window to rock her adult son was as disturbing as some horror movies I've seen. But I digress...

Tomorrow is Lou's 4th birthday and we have all been very excited about it. Birthdays are big in this family and we have been celebrating our baby all week. But this is also DNOW weekend at our church which means we will have a house full of teenagers all weekend. Needless to say I have been a bit preoccupied getting ready for both events.

So tonight I came home from a particularly great worship service feeling super pumped about the next few days and I walked into the girls' bedroom and saw her sleeping. Something just came over me and I collapsed. I literally fell to my knees and started sobbing. I had missed putting her to bed on her last night as a 3 year old and it was almost more than I could bear.

Now I feel like I should point out that I'm usually not very sentimental about babies growing up. None of my children have baby books with their measurements and lists of their "firsts" and I have never cried at a first day of Kindergarten, but something was different tonight. As I sat there in the dark rocking my almost 4 year old and crying in the room that used to be her nursery, I thought "what is happening to me? Why am I doing this? Did I feel this way when the others turned 4?" 

That's when it hit me...I don't remember the other two turning 4. Sure I can remember the parties I had planned, but I don't really remember THEM at this age because both times I also had a 6 month old baby. I don't know about you guys, but the first year of a baby's life is complete chaos in the Summy home, and I spent most of that time I'm a sleep deprived fog. So this transition is something I'm  experiencing for the first and last time. For someone who doesn't handle change very well, this is the sort of thing that causes some type of emotional break down or at least the need to spend the better part of an hour looking at old baby pictures and eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch. (Am I being a bit dramatic? Probably so, but that is just who I am as a person.)

The bond between me and little Lou is a special one. Of course I don't love her more than the others, but there is just something special about that last baby that gets this Mom a little choked up. Lou and I have had a lot more "just the two of us" days than I had with older two. I have become more relaxed and confident as a mom since having her. I have learned to play more and listen more and give more grace with her. I learned to spend extra time snuggling with her because I knew that time would not last forever. I caught myself enjoying motherhood a little more. Maybe I'm actually growing up with her. Just as I nervously experienced all the firsts along with Amelia, I'm celebrating all of the lasts with Louisa. Soon I will graduate from a mom of babies and preschoolers to a mom of elementary and middle schoolers. (Maybe that is what all the crying is about. Lord be near.) 

Things are changing in our little family and this is just the beginning. These 3 children that God has given us are each so very different. I know he has big plans for them all if I'm willing to let them go and grow and if I teach them to follow Him. That is my job as their mom. But tonight she is still three and still just a baby and so I rocked her just a little longer while watching her sleep.

Okay... maybe I am starting to sound a little bit like the creepy old Love You Forever mom. Time to look at cute pics of the birthday girl to lighten the mood!

Happy 4th Birthday to my sweet Louisa! She is as smart and hilarious as she is cute!

***Have any of you found yourself overly sentimental and acting super weird with your last baby?

January 2016
How many brownies is too many brownies for breakfast? 

Friday, January 6, 2017

When it snows, aint it thrillin? Though your toes get a chillin.

It's a good ole southern snow day in Tennessee y'all.  Which of course means we have approximately 1 to 2 inches of the white stuff and the entire city has stopped to enjoy the view. Well except for my husband, but let's not dwell on that.

For the last couple of days I have been trying to write my New Years post. For some reason (kids, cleaning, cooking, dieting, sleeping) it is taking me a while to gather all of my "welcome 2017" thoughts. And then this little snow day thing happened and distracted me and I started writing about today. The New Years post is already a week behind, what is a few more days?

I (finally at 2:45pm) sit here on my nice warm couch looking out the window at the winter wonderland. I've been haunted all day by the expectation to create magical memories of each blessed snow day. I'm kind of over it.

I was thinking this morning while in the shower (seconds after my children barged in on my naked self to ask if we could go out and play in the snow...my son may never recover) I kind of wish that we lived a little further north so that snow would be a little less of a novelty. Since it only snows 2 maybe 3 times a year in the southeast, there is a tremendous amount of pressure to soak up every second of this weather phenomenon.

Don't get me wrong. I love snow. I really do. I remember as a kid the excitement of snow, but specifically the excitement of watching the TV waiting to see if my school's name would be listed as one of the cancellations. Come to think of it, I don't remember ever actually playing in the snow as a kid. or making snow cream. or sledding. And I surely don't remember my parents taking part in the festivities. Parents in the 80s were not in the business of making magical childhood moments. One of the many reasons I wish we could go back to the 80s. (others include: hanging at the Mall, being dropped off at the skating rink, the Cosby Show, and of course the Reagan/Bush political era. Sorry if I just offended any democrat readers, but I have always had a thing for the Bushes.)

Honestly, as a 2017 mom, I kind of dread this whole snow day thing. I know we aren't supposed to admit this, but snow days are a ridiculous amount of work for the mom. First of all, my family in general is a lazy bunch of folks. We like to take it slow in the morning. Saturday. mornings are made for watching cartoons and reading and coffee drinking. But we get a little frozen precipitation and suddenly my kids are up and at 'em at 7am fully dress and wanting to go play. "Hold your horses kiddos. What's the rush? Mama needs her coffee and sittin time." 

I firmly believe that snow days should be a dad thing. I'm not the "run around outside" parent when the weather is pleasant and certainly don't have the desire to do it when it is cold and the closest thing to snow boots I have is my super cute rain boots that leave my toes vulnerable to frostbite. I should point out that none of us actually have decent snow apparel. Because as mentioned before these things would only be used 2 out of 365 days a year and as any finance smarty pants would tell you, that's a horrible return on your investment. But this is a fact that only seems to bother me. Kids don't mind a little frost bite.

I don't mean to sound like such a grump. I do actually love watching them make snow angels and throw snowballs at each other (but not at me!!!), and  I also love the taste of snow cream and hot chocolate. It's just the Instagram pressure to make it magical that gets to me. I feel guilty if I don't make the most of it and beautifully document on social media. It's exhausting because what you don't see on Instagram is the child crying who got hit in the face with a snowball. Or that 2 out of 3 kids had to come and strip down after 5 minutes because they forgot to go to the bathroom. Or that you forgot to buy hot chocolate so you had to use 2 old packets found at the back of the pantry and then find a way to stretch it out to 3 mugs without anyone noticing. And finally, no one takes a cute picture of someone spilling that precious hot chocolate all over the living room floor after they BEGGED and PROMISED to be careful if they could drink it while watching a movie.

These are all hypothetical examples of course.

But then I look back at my own Instagram worthy pics and they make me smile. And I almost forget the grinchy attitude I had earlier in the day. I see their little hats and gloves drying off next to the fire and I determine that I will remember to be thankful for that fire and those little hands. And then if I need a little more motivation, I make myself another bowl of chocolate chip snow cream. That combo will perk even the mom with the coldest feet right up.

January 2014
My littlest has her first birthday in a week. I have made no plans and no practice smash cakes. There is no theme and no presents have been bought. My how different is the life of a 3rd child. Poor Lou. Maybe aunt Carmen Keen can give you a pep talk and tell you being the baby is all bad.