Monday, February 28, 2011

In The Middle of Nowhere

Have you ever traveled through the plains of South Dakota? I'm sure most of you have not. So I ask you, have you ever found yourself traveling through the middle of a desolate landscape sans cell phone service on a blustery winter day? Again, I'm sure you're answer is no...not only a no but a "heck no" and a no "thank you to anytime soon". As much as I love the quiet plains of South Dakota, the clear sunsets void of smog or buildings on the horizon, and the down-to-earth attitudes of our people, I am not a fan of all that we have to offer, or the lack there of!

It has been many a time that without other option, I've resorted to squatting and pee-ing in a ditch (if you have never attempted this task, it is NOT easy). Of course not my proudest moments with my never-seen-the-sun posterior catching a breath of brisk fresh air because desperate times call for desperate measures. However, my boys seem to find joy, excitement, and adventure in the "ways of the wild", marking their territory along with every other glorious male species! So dilemma, for the moment, seems to have been avoided......unless the child is demanding to go #2!! Then, pray tell, what are your options. Lucky for us-read ME- we come upon a random, in-the-middle-of-nowhere run-down gas station.

I generally try to avoid potty-breaks while traveling. It is not an easy feat to get all kiddos out of the vehicle, into the rest-stop, and back out within a timely manner. To add to the difficulty, this particular gas station had 1 bathroom...for 5 of us (well, actually 4...the toddler isn't potty trained...but he has to accompany each person in and monitor their progress. It's part of his job description!) The problem with gas stations is the goodies and treats on the shelves that call out to my dudes. "I want", "Can I?" and "Please" echo throughout this dusty, dirty, run-down potty stop.

The oldest two boys go first making it even harder for the poor 4 year old to "hold it"! By the time he gets in there, I'm sure it is past the point of an emergency. When I hear the "mom, you gotta come see dis", I go barging into the bathroom to discover a pee-soaked grungy floor, a splattered toilet seat, and my standing-in-the-middle-of-all-of-it son! He swears it wasn't him, and the older two boys confirm that, indeed, the floor and seat were wet before my crew ever made their presence known. So not only is my son standing in pee and has pee all over his bootie and is SOMEONE ELSE'S PEE! I wipe as best I can with that cheap-skate see-through toilet paper, rub hand sanitizer all over my dude, and send him to his brothers. I proceed to do the tip-toe hover-above-the-toilet try-to-relax-so-I-can-pee extravaganza. No foreign pee for this mama's royal hienny! But for good measure, I rub some sanitizer on my nether-regions, too. We grab some dust-covered treats, 5 waters, pay the lady and get the heck out of Dodge!

Once in the vehicle and back on our desolate road, my four year old states very matter-of-factly from the backseat that "we are in the middle of nowhere"! Either direction we look is frozen tundra, herds of cattle, and snow-covered haystacks. The middle of nowhere indeed...but it's the only "nowhere" I want to be.....

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sleep Like A Baby

Whoever coined that expression was an idiot. Have you ever tried to sleep with your precious slumbering child? Of course you have! We all love snuggling with our comatose offspring. They look so peaceful and sweet and lingering just above their dozing little heads is the most perfect shiny halo. At least in theory, that is, because they are only tranquil limp noodles until mommy climbs into the bed to catch some zzzz's for herself! In all reality, sleeping kids are wild, noisy, and somewhat dangerous! And sleep, for mommy anyway.....forget about it!

I have tried many a time to enjoy the presence of a sleeping itty bitty in my bed. But no matter how hard I try to bask in their dozing state, they never fail to pop my bubble of perceived stillness with a kick here, a wallop there, a smack in the kisser, or a pull of my hair....all while they are presumably asleep and peaceful. Not only is a child in one's bed dangerous to your health, they are noisy. I have discovered since becoming a mommy, every nighttime creek, wiggle, cough, sigh, sniffle, and wheeze echoes throughout our quiet home. My ears seem to have acquired super-human ability to hear all-things-child. It must be part of the mom-curse our own mothers placed upon us. I haven't slept soundly in over 12 years!

However, I seem to be a glutton for punishment. Every time daddy is gone, I invite my tiny terrorists into my bed to torture my sleep and disturb my slumber. I bring it on myself placing one or more in the bed and another on the floor. Silence sure is noisy when in the presence of my sleeping babes! Every movement is amplified, every sniffle or fart booms, and the battle against mommy's body is brutal....all....night....long. They all awake at the first hint of morning with renewed energy and spirit. While mommy is left in a sluggish, bruised state with a hint of cranky! Only, I fail to learn my lesson as I willingly invite those nighttime Nazis back into my sanctuary the next time daddy is gone. I am apparently intoxicated by the alluring facade a sleeping child creates. They exude peace, tranquility, and serenity....which is disarmed and transformed into the Tasmanian devil the moment mommy succumbs to the inebriating effects of somnolence!

Sleep, sweet sleep! You are but a fools folly!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Can You Hear Me Now?

For just a moment, I am going to stand upon my dusty soap box and rant and rave like a disgruntled woman. I normally do my ranting in the comforts of my own head....where, I must say, I make some pretty compelling arguments for my case. Actually I do most of my confronting, arguing, and debating within the confines and safety of my own head where I successfully encompass the passion and charisma of some of the most famous literary protagonists. Have I ever mentioned that I took debate (and was pretty successful) in high school? I like to have my facts in place, evidence at hand to support my point, and a fistful of logic just in case.

With that said, I'm going to state my case....a word of caution, however, I don't take too kindly to being told that I am wrong or to the suggestion that it is indeed I who need be corrected.

I love my hubby dearly...wouldn't trade him in for a newer model anytime soon. However, it needs to be said...that he is spoiled...quite spoiled indeed. I take the blame. I wait on him (and my boys) hand and foot without thanks or recognition. And most of the time, it doesn't bother me at all....until it does, and then watch out! Because I- like many an elephant-never forget. Right, wrong, or indifferent I quietly make record of all wrong doing against me whether it's real or perceived. You are aware that perception is reality, right? So whether offense was intended or not, it is how it is perceived that matters.
When hubby has the misfortune to toot his own horn after helping with home or children, I tend to get a little hot and bothered. Hence, I start to fester, bubble and boil. I'm a stew-er if you must know. And all past offenses get thrown into that boiling pot. Why, pray tell, does hubby need recognition and congratulations after the smallest of household tasks? I haven't an answer for that mystical query. I could entertain and captivate you with a tabulation of transgressions that are presently festering, bubbling, and boiling in my cauldron, but I won't....I will merely state my position on his most recent affront.

When stranded in the hotel this past weekend during the blizzard, I allowed hubby to make fake-turkey (seriously, there is no way that package should have been labeled "turkey") sandwiches for our crew. Nothing was really said of it (it was cold meat sandwiches for heaven's sake!), until we returned home from our long, arduous weekend. All afternoon and evening no one had moved their perched hiennies from the position of holding down the couch to help me with anything. I brought all suitcases and gear in, put it away, sorted laundry so we could have clean underwear (which really I'm the only one who cares!), and started supper. I may or may not have been getting a little huffy and growled toward hubby about helping. When he had the audacity to whine and moan about how I didn't help while he "served" everyone sandwiches in the hotel! Is anybody else chuckling???? Because, seriously. Do we really want to start making lists of who does what around the house???? I don't think so...because we all know how that is going to go.

Would it really be worth my while to list each and every task I do all day? Wipe butt....check. Feed five kids breakfast (our neighbor comes to our house before and after school to ride the case you were wondering where my extra son came from)...check. Clean up breakfast mess...check. Make school lunch...check. Get 3 out the door to the bus...check. Empty dishwasher and reload...check. Change toddler's diaper...check. He pooped, change it again...check. Make bed...check. Wash 4yo's sheets and make bed with clean sheets...check.'s only about 7:45 am by this point...should I really continue, or all we all singing the same song by this point??!!

So if anyone out there can help me with this conundrum, please do. Why must hubby get a gold star and congratulatory announcement for his accomplished household task? Do their egos really need that much stroking (yes I'm talking about egos! Get your mind out of the gutter!!)? Or (tread softly, here) is it I who is being overly sensitive (or dramatic...the jury is still out on that one)? I haven't the answers for these worldly questions...but I'm tired of playing my violin, and my list of things to do is growing as we speak!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Murphy Strikes Again

I feel as if our family has been chasing our tails as of lately. We've been running around like chickens with our heads cut off....which seems to be completely normal for my little crew of dudes. With a wrestler in our midst, every weekend has been devoted to different wrestling tournaments throughout the state. And all of my crew is starting to display some fatigue from our efforts to create an Olympic champion (a mama can dream right??)

This past weekend was devoted to a tournament 3 hours from our home in the same town daddy was having guard drill. The travel plans were set into place, hotel booked, and bags packed. However, Murphy's Law seems to follow me around like a lost puppy. I need to introduce him to another family...mine is growing tired of his ways. The day prior to the boys and I traveling for our designated location (daddy was already there for Guard yes, we will have 2 vehicles in the same place), our 4 year old awoke in a cloud of sick. An hour and a half, two blood withdrawals, strep test and lots and lots of tears and screams later, we were no where closer to a diagnosis than before we visited the doctor. Both mommy and son were traumatized since mommy was the one asked to restrain the poor little man so they could steal blood from both his arm and his finger. All tests proved negative, and we were sent home with sick little boy and "treat the symptoms" advice, or lack there of. I was hoping for some drugs...even a placebo would have made this mommy feel better.

Against my mommy senses and better judgement (and reports of approaching snow storm), I loaded up my crew the next morning to venture toward our rendezvous location with daddy. I have never seen my poor little guy sleep so much. Hours upon hours of the proceeding days were devoted to just that....the Sandman was holding my little guy captive. The pharmacy hath no fury like a mommy trying to "treat the symptoms" of her sick little guy. With drugs in tow, I felt equipped to successfully treat and squelch those gosh darn symptoms!

Murphy must be fast, however, because he beat us to destination, confused our GPS (which I think is somewhat ALWAYS gets me lost) and brought a blizzard on our heels. By the next morning, the roads were practically impassable with snow to our knees. Assuming said wrestling tourney would be cancelled we ventured out early for weigh-ins and then hit the road to home. Blizzard schmizzard! Youth sports are relentless....and the show must go on! So through the blizzard we ventured with 2 kids, 1 sickie, and 1 wrestler. I'm pretty sure my parents hung their heads in shame at this ill-advised decision. The defrost and windshield wipers couldn't even keep up with the driving snow and ice. I was flying blind...luckily we arrived at the gym without accident, injury, or getting stuck (which was quite impressive since I don't have a four-wheel drive vehicle and didn't quite know where I was going!).

All in all the tourney went great. My kiddo got 2nd (he's 17 and 2, by the way, just in case you wanted to give him a virtual high five!). At this point, most highways and interstates are closed with no travel advised. So we camp in the hotel with the rest of the stranded travelers trying to enjoy the pool and down time. There's only so much relaxation one can indulge upon in a hotel room stuffed with 6 people!

The travel home wasn't terrible....patchy ice, viscious winds, failing to work wipers, and freezing temps, but we arrived the news (finally) from our pediatrician that my 4 year old in fact had MONO! Seriously?! My mom guilt was raging, our pockets were empty from unexpected traveling expenses (hubby's windshield wipers quit so we had to fix that problem before departure; extra night in a hotel, extra meals for an army of 6), and now the 12 year old is home sick from school. Ugh! It will most assuredly run its course through my kiddos...only to attack mommy at the end of its reign. My laundry reproduced on its own while we were gone, and somebody made a mess of my house! See...this is what happens when they let mommy leave the house for a weekend of "leisure"!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Looney Bin Called, They'd Like To Speak With Us

I've often said that I think my family is a box of crazy...all by ourselves. We don't need anything to entertain us, the crazy that comes with one queen, one king (who sometimes falsely thinks he's in charge) and 4 unruly princes is enough to make Dr. Phil run for cover. Testosterone runs amuck, messes create themselves, and things break at random! It's no wonder that sometimes mommy's eyes twitch and gibberish expels from her lips! You be the judge...are we headed to the Looney-bin?

* I have actually been heard to say "Mommy's putting on her angry eyes!"

* To keep the toddler happy (at all times) we have relented and given in to his authority. We now are required to hold a "blankie roll-call" before and during each outing. "Bear...check. Puppy...check. Ephlant (that's elephant for those who don't speak toddlerese)...check" and so it goes until all blankies are accounted for. Most of my trips now consist of me carting around 7 blankies, "Teetle" the turtle, 4 kids, shopping list or two, purse with spare diaper shoved into it, phone for contact to the outside world........and a partridge in a pear tree!

* I have and always will think that drinking soda makes my teeth fuzzy

* The toddler insists on slapping mommy's butt every time I bend over. He seems to find great joy in this!

* I move things around all the time to "more logical places".......where they will be lost to us forever since I can never remember to which place I moved them.

* I have been known, on occasion, to put my underwear on inside out.....we've noticed this tendency in our boys....things are always on inside out or backwards.....there may be a slight chance that they get that from me.

* When my husband first got his blackberry ( a couple years ago), I called it a raspberry....and I was serious!

* I am not functional in the morning.......until I brush my teeth. Hey, in my defense, everybody else appreciates my lack of morning breath.

* I love, love, love the snow...that's why we got married in December.......but I hate the cold. Would that be an oxymoron or a cruel aria???

* I'm slightly paranoid.....I always think girlfriends are mad at me, or talking about me, or lying to me, or faking being nice to me.....I could continue, but I think you get the idea.

*My boys, from the oldest to the youngest, constantly have their hands down their pants!

This seems to be slightly incriminating information. After review this may or may not put me in a slightly skewed or schizophrenic light. It is quite possible that it is I that is suffering from a case of the crazies. I blame the lack of estrogen in my environment......I'm innocent by reason of insanity!!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sexy Mama's At The Mommy Mambo

I am guest posting over at The Mommy Mambo today! I'm so nervous...this is my first time...I'm totally a guest-blogging virgin! So help me "get around" and come over to visit me!!

Jennifer is the creator of The Mommy Mambo and she is hilarious! She is a fellow boy-mama (we have to stick together). And likes to find the humor in all-things mothering!

What is "the mommy mambo" you might ask? Well, my partner in crime puts it this way:

"Have you ever answered the phone with Cheetos grease on your hand while you make star shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and grab the dirty underwear away from the dog who raided the hamper yet again, as you stop  the baby from washing a hot-wheel in the toilet that his older brothers have peed in 6 times without flushing or putting the seat down? Yes? Then you are doing the Mommy Mambo"

Now get your blogging booties over there and check her out...while you're there you can enjoy in my own personal debacle with boots that definitely weren't made for walking!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Letters- 3rd Installment

Happy Valentine's Day! I am joining FTLOB to celebrate in style by sharing some love letters throughout February. When hubby was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and 2004, we exchanged lots and lots of letters since any other form of communication was sparse. I have shared 2 of those letters with all of you, and today I would like to share a letter daddy wrote to his 2 little boys. Ty was 4 when daddy left and was 5 at the time of this letter. Tyson was born while daddy was gone (daddy did get a 72 hour pass to meet him, though) and wasn't quite a year old when we got this letter.

26 Feb 04

Tyler and Tyson-
How are my two favorite boys doing? I hope you are still taking care of mommy the best you can. I know you are doing a great job.

Tyler, how did you like your stay at Grandma's house? Did you play with M and J? You told me that you liked Midnight the cat more than you liked Thunder the dog. Well I hope you still enjoy puppies because I would like to get one when I get home. I hope you will help me take care of it. I'm not sure if I know how, do you?

Tyson, hey my little bud. I can't wait to get home and get to know you a little better. Last time I held you was almost a year ago. I understand you are mommy's little buddy, but remember you received your good looks from me. I'm sure you will realize this the moment you see your "Da".

Well, boys when I get home it will add one more weenie-wacker mom will have to take care of. We will certainly take it easy on her to start with since we have her unfairly outnumbered. After this past year, I'm sure she has learned a few tricks to manage.

Let's see, I guess I should clear up a few questions since I've been gone so long and a lot of things have changed. Is the bathroom where you boys have your baths the "Boys" room, or do I have to shower in mommy's shower? Do I still have a bed? I see a lot of photos with you two sleeping in the bed in MY room. Do I have to sleep somewhere else? Or is there going to be room for me. Well I guess all these will be solved when I get home. Which will be pretty soon. The Army is almost done with daddy.

I want you two to give mom a big hug and kiss from me ok. I love you guys and miss you very much.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Circus Has Come To Town...And I'm The Ring Leader

Running to Walmart is a necessary evil on the weekends when your list contains milk, dog food, tampons and pepto (thanks, by the way, to whichever kiddo gave those germs to my clan!). With daddy gone so often for training, briefings, and the like I seem to be frequenting Walmart with 4 little boys in tow more and more. Not exactly the same as having my cake and eating it too, but I've learned that not all things in life are fair (or fun for that matter) so instead of pouting or grumbling about my predicament, I try to make our outing as fun as possible.

Since the older boys grumble in regards to all-things shopping, I decided to allow them to make a small purchase of their choosing while at the store hoping that this would deter the afore mentioned whining. With money in hand and spirits risen, we loaded into our van trying to beat the winter storm that was creeping closer.

Navigating any store with 4 kids isn't for the slight of heart. It's a stress-inducing task that threatens to defeat the weak. However, I am one tough cookie and never crumple in the face of fear...I took the challenge head on determined to conquer this store, my list, and the toy aisle all without tantrum, lost child, or breaking the budget.

The first obstacle in this shopping extravaganza involves navigating the parking lot. Our weather has been willy-nilly and indecisive so the streets are muddy, slushy, and full of puddles...which, of course, need to be addressed by the 2 year old. Avoiding tantrum, I hold his little hand as he proceeds to splish-splash and stamp his future date with a bath all the way across the parking lot. Once inside, he refuses to be restrained or otherwise detained in the cart. The 12 year old is put on alert and is assigned to toddler duty while I keep a "twenty" on the wandering 7 and 4 year olds. To keep the dudes focused, we form a choo-choo train as I decipher which items are hiding in which aisles....mama is the engine (I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!) and the 4 year old takes up residence as the caboose. This all goes down complete with chugga-chugga's and choo-choo's! We are truly a sight to behold!

Pharmacy...check. Pet supplies...check. On to the toy aisle which is an adventure in and of itself! All in all the toy selection went off without a hitch. Each child clenched their prized selection impatiently waiting to open their treasure as we headed off to groceries. This section is always a slippery slope. So our train chuggs onward adding cargo as we go. However, the 2 year old is getting sleepy and I foresee meltdown in our near we chugg through the rest of the grocery section singing "ah! ah! ah! ah! stayin' awake! stayin' awake!" Yes, I receive many stares, glares, giggles, and roll of the eyes...but I've lost my will to care.

With cart full of items and toddler we head to checkout....usually the straw that broke the camel's back...but my hopes for success are still high! Of course, Murphy's law insists that I occupy the line with the ssssslllloooowwwweeeesssstttt customers and/or clerk. So I divert the impatient children's attention with the selection of candy and allow them to pick out a treat. (as a side note...I hate this part of the checkout line....those items are deliberately placed there so parents HAVE to purchase unnecessary junk in order to avoid meltdown and tantrum!) Here is the this instance I am that mom that we all love to hate. Each of my boys has their own money clenched in their tight sweaty fist ready to purchase their desired treasure. Instead of being behind 1 are, in fact, behind 5 customers!!

Each of us exit the store with our bag of goodies and our pockets a little bit emptier...but I did it without tantrums or meltdowns. The kids had fun, didn't complain (too much) and even enjoyed some giggles watching mommy bust a groove in the cereal aisle!! All in all, my kids had fun! Hey, we can't possibly be any crazier than any other family packed into our Walmart!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kids Have More Fun

Do you remember going to the bank as a kid? Maybe it wasn't a family outing for you, but in my family it was a special trip into town...and it was very exiting. I remember going through the double glass doors...I can even remember the smell. Right inside the doors to the left was the water fountain which we all had to get onto our tippiest of tippy-toes to steal a drink. While mom waited in line we would walk around the tile floor being careful not to touch the cracks (we didn't want to break mom's back...unless I was mad at her, and then Cracks R Us came to town!), giggling, and jumping from square to square. When it was finally our turn, the teller would give each of us a sucker! And then my mom would give each one of us a penny to get a gumball. I remember how excited we were as we jockied for position to decided who got to go first, second and last. With our 2 treats in hand we would skip out to the vehicle to help mom with more errands or to venture back home to the farm. The bank was a blast...a exiting outing!

As an adult, I have lost that joy of going to the bank. lacks. I see it as a chore...a dreaded errand...another item on a never-ending To-Do list. The line never moves fast enough, and sometimes I am greeted my a less-than-cheerful teller. It's just another thing I "have" to do that used to be something I "got" to do.

Yes, the bank has lost its joy in my adulthood. Disappointment and mundane ring true...and the little girl in me misses the joy she found in such simple things. Now, the bank has a very different vibe: The water fountain probably has germs.There are no gumball machines. The floor has no allure and fails to call to my inner-child. And I never get a sucker at the end of my transaction!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Throw Me In The River

Hubby, #1 and I were watching something random on TV one night after the 3 youngest had already gone to bed. And somehow the subject of an urn, what it is and its purpose became our topic of conversation. Don't ask why we were talking about this with or around our son...just go with it. Hubby cringed and stated matter-of-factly that he wants to be buried in the Black Hills National Cemetery. No "ashes to ashes, dust to dust" for my man! But he doesn't want anything flashy either...just to be quietly laid to rest with fellow veterans. This was all stated very light-hearted as our 12 year old was a part of the doomsday conversation.

I, on the other hand, don't have any strong feelings one way or the other. So I stated that I was totally OK with my family deciding to cremate me...hence the urn conversation came full circle. #1 thought having my ashes loving placed on our mantel in a vase (his words not mine) was disgusting and looked at me as if I was an alien mutant asking to stay for supper. In order to regain his favor, I offered a secondary option of "disposal", if you will, for my ashes. Since my family loves to camp I excitedly told them to sprinkle me in the Black Hills Forest where we camp...of course, this would have to be done on the sly since I'm sure it is a Federal Offense to sprinkle your dead relatives ashes amongst the campground.

However, federal offense aside, I added some stipulations to how and where my ashes could be dumped. I forebode hubby from dumping me in the fire pit because I watched my boys pee on the fire pit to put the fire out last camping trip, and I am somewhat weirded out by people roasting marshmallows over me (as should be the future campers of the campsite where I'm dumped!). With that said, I offered up the suggestion of sprinkling me in the trees that my boys like to hike. But then it occurred to me that people and animals do, indeed, sh*t in the woods. I grabbed hubby's arm and told him not to sprinkle me where people or animals are going to "do their business". I don't want to be pee-ed on! I wanna rest in peace not pees! My son laughed, and hubby looked at me exasperated and jeered, "You're high maintenance even when you're dead!" And with that he and #1 continued to laugh at me and joke about my apparent level of required or dead!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Red, Red, Whine...picture

Ok, ok, do you want to see my new rockin' hair color?? Here it is (remember I've been blonde my entrie life!!) My friends who have seen it thus far have been less than enthused. Good thing my hubby thinks it's smokin' hot!!......................

Red, Red, Whine!

I'm not normally very adventurous with my hairstyle. I don't aim to rock any boats, and I am pretty comfortable with my girl-next-door look. However, my hubby recently developed a thing for red-heads. This is new information to me, and I've known him for 14 years. Since I have limited time with hubby until he is deployed, I decided what hubby wants, hubby gets. So off to the salon I went to jump into the world of red! I've been a blonde most of my life...except for a short stint with a deep rich this was quite a leap of faith for me.

My hairstylist was excited for the change and eager to see the results which made me less nervous and more excited too. However, once I sat in her chair prepared to take the plunge...something started to stir inside of me. See, the only reason I'm going red is to please my hubby...because I am truly struggling with the reality of his approaching departure. It weighs heavy on me...and I fail to let it out. Now, my hairstylist has a son who is also a veteran of the Iraq war, and we have shared lots and lots of emotions....emotions now that seem raw, at the surface, and threatening to erupt. And going red seemed to have weakened my normally strong-as-steel demeanor.

I was weepy, teary, and frazzled the entire appointment...all 3 1/2 hours of it. I couldn't hold the tears in...they were at the surface at every single moment. Contrary to my normal strength, I was unable to control and close off my emotions. Even now, I am confused as to what truly happened. But all of the ladies offered empathetic squeezes, understanding looks, and heartfelt words. I was taken aback at their willingness to allow me to cry...and laugh....and cry again...all while taking up residence in their salon. Most women come to the salon for "me" time, a day off, or some pampering. My day at the salon was much different than the norm. My normal composure was stripped away as red was added to my "do". Apparently, my soul needed to just took some red to do it!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Love Letters-2nd Installment

I'm linking up with FTLOB today and every Monday through February for Love Letters. I shared a love letter (I started early) last Monday sharing a letter my hubby sent me just before he returned from Iraq. You can read that here.

The following love letter is from my hubby in 2004 when he was at Camp Warhorse in Iraq. He had been away from home a year by this point (he didn't come home until April 2004). As mentioned in my previous love letter, at this point in the war communication was mainly via written correspondence. I treasure these letters, notes, and messages.

"Hey, Baby-

I want to start this one out by reminding you that I love you very much. Tonight, the 12th of January seems to be a unique evening for me for a couple reasons. The emotions overwhelmed me so much that the only thing I could do was put it in writing.

First off, I'm all by myself tonight. All of my roommates are working. So the only noise to be heard tonight is sounds that I produce. But here comes the parts that are special. I was sitting here on my chair reading Lance Armstrong's autobiography when I thought to myself it must be really rotten for my roommates to have to work outside tonight because it's raining. I didn't think anything of it as first, but as time went on, I found my mind constantly diverted to the tap, tap, tap sound of the droplets hitting the metal roof. So finally, without disgust, I slowly closed the book and closed my eyes. I pictured us back in the apartment with our thunderstorm CD. You made certain everything was perfect.

I quickly remembered that your mom sent me a candle in a small little patriotic candle holder. So I got out my matches (every good soldier has some) and lit a single little lite. So with the rest of the country in darkness, I write to you by candlelight with the sounds of raindrops bouncing off the roof.

When I sit back, let out a sigh, the lone shine dances in the darkness, not much different than the thoughts of you in my mind. Sometimes it's the only thing that keeps the candle burning. While I'm here, I'm protective of that flame. It will NOT go out. So as I lay my head down tonight...the flame...the rain...I love you honey. you're the one piece I'm missing. Soon the puzzle will be back together.

I love you,

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Screw the To-Do List

Kids have been sick, people have been cranky, and the laundry has taken over! In light of my desire to eat bad food all day, drink some wine, and cuddle with my 5 dudes while we diligently watch hours of pre-game and then the Super Bowl, I am going to re-post (I think this is becoming a theme!!) a previous post that I really even got the stamp of approval from my 12 year old (which is a really big deal!!).

Seize the Moment

I know. I know- "seize the moment"- what a cliche. But I've decided I need to do just that. I don't normally think of my day in "moments"; it's more of a "to-do" list and "schedule of events". Dishes-check; laundry-check; dusting-check; prepare supper-check; pick-up from cross country and deliver to soccer-check. Very often I get all caught up in what I have to do, what I have to get done, where do I need to be......that I have forgotten that my most important item on my "to-do" list has absolutely nothing to do with the state of my laundry, the cleanliness of my home, or what time I need to chauffeur my kids. No, my most important job - or privilege- is making the most of my moments with my boys.

I have to confess that I quite often, put my kids off to do "just one more thing". I make them try to tell me their super important story while I switch the laundry and then run upstairs to check supper. But when I am speaking to them, I require their undivided attention and eyes to be looking into mine. Shouldn't I offer the same consideration back to the ones who are the MOST important to me?? Of course the answer is yes, and of course I believe that. But why is it so easy to make my children wait for my attention while I scurry to pick up toys, rotate laundry, brown the hamburger, and (gasp) check my email!?

Shame on me, shame on me, indeed. My children are my greatest accomplishment, blessing, and responsibility. My mother has always told me that my children will never remember if the house was dirty or the dishes weren't washed. What they will remember is playing (another) game of Candyland, taking time to play Frisbee- even if it is chilly out, listening to my son tell me about "this really cool thing that happened at school", or sitting down to read a story that my child has been begging me to do all day. Those are the moments my boys will grow up and remember.

So the next time my kiddo is following me around trying to tell me his story, I'm going to STOP what I'm doing and look him in the eye...because I really do care and want to know...and it makes him feel important and loved. My 11 year old is on the verge of trying to become a man, and I have limited moments where he is going to chase me down trying to tell me about his day. My 7 year old isn't going to want to sing me his songs from music class forever- I need to listen now. My 4 year old isn't going to carry a Frisbee around all day for too much longer waiting for me to take 10 minutes to play with him. And my 2 year old isn't going to want me to "hold you" (that's how he says he wants held) forever. My little boys are growing up. I only get to have them in my grasp for a short time. So today....I'm going to "seize the moment" and make it count.

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Kids Are Frickin' Funny

* TJ (4yo) was running down the hallway and jumping over daddy (daddy is a long a triple jump coach at the high school)
daddy says, "you need to drive that knee a little more buddy!"
TJ pipes in, "I don't have a steering wheel on my knee daddy!" 
Duh daddy!!!!!

*Teagan (2yo) told mommy to "Suck it! Suck it, mommy!!" He was holding out his newly-found-once-discarded old sucker.

*We were watching the playoffs and our 7yo kept hearing the announcer talk about one of the teams quarterbacks. When he tried to say the name it came out "Motroplosberger" and then later as "Broccolisberger" son that would be "Roethlisberger"!!

*TJ (4yo) was running through the house-  he does that a lot. I was cleaning up a lotion mess from the 2yo. TJ had to run around me, and as he did he stated very annoyed at my incredulousness, "you gotta watch where you're going mommy!"

* I was trying to give my 7yo a human anatomy lesson. We are looking at the veins on my hands and arms, and I'm trying to explain the cardiovascular system (much easier said than done...kudos to teachers everywhere!) I tried to explain that there are veins everywhere going back and forth to and from the heart. In the infinite wisdom of a little boy he looks at me mischievously and asks, "even on my weener?" and runs off to the bathroom. Awesome! Are all boys like this......or just mine???

* The 4yo doesn't wipe his own butt. It's still my job. However, the 2yo thinks that anything going on in the bathroom and all-things-poo need to have his stamp of approval. Whenever the 4yo yells, "mom, you gotta come see this great poop!" My dedicated poo inspector races to get to the bathroom to investigate, congratulate, and supervise the dismount and wiping process!

This is how the scenario plays out: TJ (4yo) assumes the position which is brown-eye pointing skyward while hands are holding his ankles. Mommy straddles said 4yo in order to have more control, to ensure adequate cleaning, and keep the 4yo focused! 2yo (who's head is now at the same level of his brother's skyward-facing naked butt) leans in about 3 inches from the area under investigation and watches dubiously as the process unfolds. Every....single....time! And then we all cheer and say goodbye to the poop....every...single...time!!

If laughing keeps you young....then my kids at the best anti-aging technique out there!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

For the "If" in Life

It stuck out like a sore thumb. The moment it came out of his mouth, it grabbed me by the collar and knocked me to the floor. My husband said "if". We were talking about upgrades and possible remodeling we wanted to do "down the road". And my husband said "if". "If" I come home from war.........The rest of the sentence, or conversation for that matter, doesn't matter because time stopped for me. "If" is still hanging in the air. I can see it. I dodge it daily. And sometimes at night I awaken in terror as it grabs my throat and threatens to choke the life right out of me.

"If" is an uncomfortable place I've been before. There is something scarily familiar about the "if" in my life. I remember dodging any and all news and conversations that hinted toward events in Iraq. Every gun fight, every road-side bomb, every RPG that attacked a convoy, every "casualty of war" had the possibility of being or involving my soldier. So I avoided that "if" with all of my strength....until he finally came home. And now, with only 52 days (all the rest of the days of the next 3 1/2 months before he goes are spoken for by the military for pre-deployment training) until he leaves for a year I am fighting desperately to avoid the issue of "if".

Most of the time we plan...we plan for the good, we plan for the bad. "If (_____), then (______)." It is a safety net, good financial planning, hopeful family planning, vacation planning...I could go on and on. We all do it....if this, then this. It's the way the world spins round...everything has an if/then statement. But what do we do when "if" scares the hell out of us? What do we do when "if" is so unimaginable that the fear of it occurring threatens to cripple my ability to function?

"If"? Then what?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It Hurts In A Good Way

I don't do New Year's resolutions as I mentioned...well, at the new year...because I don't want to set myself up for failure! But I do like to set goals, aspirations if you will, for myself. You see, I am a high achiever....if I can't do it and do it well, then I tend to not do it at all. I want to be the everything! Right, wrong, or indifferent, that's the way I roll! I also enjoy rewarding myself for a job well done (maybe that's why I only do things I know I'm good at...hmmmm....touche`). With that said, I decided after my last hour-long massage (courtesy of my husband's volleyball team...thanks ladies!!) that I deserved this kind of pampering more often than allowed or indulged upon. super clever mind! I decided that I was going to do my P90X (again) and reward myself after the final phase with a massage (and maybe pedicure and manicure and cute summer outfit, but I digress). It seemed perfectly logical to me that my body would need some pampering and relaxation after 90 grueling days of being "x-like". Those are the words of Tony Horton the P90X trainer, not mine.

With plan -and reward- in place, I set out on my 90 days of super intense workouts. Again, I'm going to say that I have a problem. I like to be the best.....and I think I'm She-ra (you know from He-man...if you don' t know what I'm talking about, then we have no business speaking to each other any more...just kidding. I'm equal-opportunity here...keep reading!!) So instead of PACING myself (as stated during the first workout...and I've done this workout 4 times before), I decided I would go pull-up for pull-up and push-up for push-up with the King of Fit himself. Not my best decision...but you know what they say, hindsight is 20/20!

Day # 2 was uncomfortable. I realized I did indeed have some muscles that I was neglecting. Nonetheless, I busted out the plyometric workout (this workout sucks...I hate it!), sweating, panting and cursing my workout decision the entire time. Day #3 proved to be difficult to dismount my bed. I didn't know there were so many areas of my butt that needed attention. And my core area felt as if I had an active role in clash of the Titans! However, the toughie that I am, I forged ahead for my workout....which was an entirely new set of muscles (who knew we had so many that required such devoted and thorough attention!). By the night of day 3, I was unable to stand fully erect (get your minds out of the gutter...that was the LAST thing on my mind!) Every movement and task proved more painful than the much so, that hubby and son #1 offered to clean up all of supper and the mess that goes with it. Hubby did his best to wait on me hand and foot...for the next 2 days...and nights, because I was summoning drinks and Motrin! He felt too badly to protest.

I bailed out of the Thursday, Friday, and yes even Saturday's workouts with the excuse (it really was the truth!) that I was just in too much pain. With that behind me, I am on to week 2 of my 90 days! A massage has never sounded so good! I will survive and conquer the rest of the program...if only for the allure of the spa!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Love Letters- Part 1

I wanted to join in on something that warmed my heart. Over at For the Love of Blogs they are hosting a "love letters" edition through February. It doesn't technically start until February 7, but I thought I would start a little earlier.

Now, I am NOT a hopeless romantic....I am more of a realist. Rose petals, candlelight, and sweet nothings being whispered into my ear have never played much of a role in my life. But I've always longed to have those moments...I just don't seem to have that romantic strand in my DNA. I try, but it always seems to come off "cheesy".

With that said, I have to admit that I have learned to treasure love letters...not just any love letters that were sent from my husband from war. My husband was deployed and in Iraq for a total of 15 months. He was there at the beginning of the war....their mission and duties were very dangerous...and communication was sparse at the best. We would go a month or two without hearing from him....I learned to plan for the worst and hope for the best. When hearing his voice was so rare, I learned to treasure the letters and cards I would receive from somewhere around the world. Since we had no idea if he would return to us at all, we learned to pour our hearts out to each other with written words that I now hold very dear to my heart.

If you would indulge me for a moment longer, I would like to share with you a letter my husband sent me from Camp Warhorse in Iraq in 2004........

(this is what the card said) When we first fell in love, every time you looked at me, smiled at me, or touched me, you made me feel so good about if I were the most desirable person in the world. I couldn't wait to be alone with you, to share my most intimate self with you. I love you even more now (if that's possible!), and I hope you realize that the excitement I felt when we first fell in love hasn't faded with time. You still make me feel as special as you did the first time we kissed.

(this is what my hubby wrote) "Babe, Hey I was looking for a birthday card and I was having trouble deciding whether or not to go with a "funny" or "serious". Anyway, being a typical guy, I really don't read the whole card before deciding to buy it....BUT, this particular card said words that made bumps appear on my arms. As I came to the last line, I thought 'perfect'. Everyday I think of the little things that I can't wait to get home to. I realize now (and during the past year) that I don't want to live without you. It makes me sad and hurt in my heart when I can't see you. I really need you! You are truly my 'better half'. I want to cuddle on the couch and giggle, eat a candlelight spaghetti supper at an indoor picnic, I want to find a set of swings and let the wind brush our hair, I want to go camping somewhere nobody can find us, I want to hold hands in the mall, I want to jump in a "moon walk" with you, I want to stay home on Halloween and play dominoes in the dark, go to the movies and share a straw, rub your feet, kiss your belly, play with your hair, paint your toenails, and Be Your Best Friend! Thanks for giving me this feeling!

This letter arrived about a month before he returned home from deployment. When we found out we were pregnant with our first child (in 1998) we were penniless college students. To celebrate, I set up a candlelit picnic on our living room floor (we didn't have any furniture yet). He always painted my toes for me when I was pregnant, and our first Halloween (while pregnant with baby #1) we played dominoes to candlelight as we handed out candy. We had been through some very tough times in our marriage months before he left for you can imagine "absence makes the heart grow fonder"! God put us in opposite parts of the world in order to find Him and re-commit us to our marriage.

****come back next week for the 2nd installment of Love Letters. I will also have the the link to FTLOB where you can enjoy even more Love Letters