Thursday, May 26, 2011

Back to school blues...

So I finally started school this week. I had forgotten how hard it is to balance so much when you have children. When I met James I basically stopped everything to be home with the kids. At the time I was working full time, coaching my daughters soccer team and going to school full time, but with James being just as busy with his career, one of us had to be home. It was impossible for both of us to be that busy and make a "normal" life for the children.

The last time I was in college, I had lived at home with my parents. I worked a 9-5 job, went to school at night and came home to a sleeping child. A little different than my life now....so very different.

Monday was exciting. I had all my new supplies, (I've always been a sucker for pens, pencils, and a "Fancy" notebook) my bag was packed, and the night before I laid out my uniform like all the "cool kids" did back in the day. I was eager to learn all about my new career path, and desprately hoping to make a friend or two.

Tuesday was scary. I was 30 minutes late because I went the wrong way on the interstate. I had a test, which I passed with flying colors...yeah I'm bragging...it may be the only 100% I ever get. We jumped right in to chemistry, which was beyond difficult for my 8th grade level of intellegence to comprehend and I may have developed carpel tunnel syndrome from all of the note taking.

Wednesday was intimidating. I had to "practice" a cleansing and facial massage (which I had briefly learned the day before) on a student who had already been in class for several months. We then picked right back up where we left off in chemistry, which made my brain swell and my palms sweat. One of the administrators made a pizza fondue, which our entire school was forced to eat...together...in the cafeteria. I sat alone for about 5 minutes until a woman my mothers age invited me to sit with her and her friends...they were clearly cooler than me.

Today was exhausting. I woke up with Jacob's foot in my rib cage. In clinical we were told to let our hair grow out for body waxing next week. We practice on one another...it hurts when a professional waxes me...help. In lecture the woman next to me yelled at me because I was writing to loud...which I'm still confused about.

Between all this James has worked late almost every day this week. My 18 month old has hit the "terrible two's" early, we are having work done on the house, and I have had "stage mom" obligations.

It sounds worse than it is. I actually loved this week. It has been chaotic, productive and exciting. School is something that I have to work very hard at, and I know that what I am doing will be worth all of the hard work. I have learned about positive energy, and being thankful for what you have. I will definitly be overwhelmed and maybe even stressed out over the next several months but it will only be temporary. In the end I will have a career that will make me feel good, and allow me to help others feel good as well. I will have a sense of being, and be able to provide more for my family. In some crazy way I love the idea of being too busy. It allows less time to think about what isn't and more time to focus on what is.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

In my shoes

OK my past few posts have been little deep...so I thought I would share my exciting morning with you. James made a huge mistake today, by admitting that he had no appointments or office work to catch up on. I am almost positive that he regrets it now.

Saturdays are always a little wacky because the two youngest girls have ballet (at different times) which causes a 2 hour block of waiting, and 4 trips to and from the ballet studio. I refuse to sit in a 10 X 10 waiting room with my (not even close to quiet) 4 children, 6 other mom's and multiple signs that read "absolutely no food and drink". So we usually drop off, clean the mom-van, play in the drive away, switch dancers, drive around the neighborhood searching for garage sales, grab a snack, and then pick up again. This also pushes the baby's nap back by at least an hour, and somewhat messes up the rest of his day. But it is all worth it....unless neither of them get into Juiliard...I'm not even going to think about that.

Today was MY lucky day though. First question of the morning "Honey, do you have any appointments today?"...silence...a sigh...followed by a hesitant "No..." This was as good as winning the lottery (scratch off...not Powerball).

I was suddenly excited to get out of bed. I fed the kids a healthy breakfast of cheese and doughnuts (there were also bananas and yogurt offered...I try not to be too pushy on the weekend). I then dressed the little one in her dance clothes, which took way to long, and I am pretty sure that her tights are 2 sizes too small. Next I did a search and rescue effort in my van and found her missing tap shoe...which had gum stuck to the bottom...which means there is more gum somewhere, someplace, stuck to something in my car.

Now that the kids were fed, and some were dressed, I was turning over the less enjoyable responsibilities to James. I sent him off to dance with our 4 year old, I should have made him take all the kids but just him taking one was a huge relief. Not having to pile all the kids in the car, or find 4 pair of shoes was also a nice break. I did make him come back for the second girl though, I didn't want him to get the impression that Saturdays were even slightly easy.

This is when it gets fun...

As James comes home to do the "dancer switch", he gets a small glimpse into my every day life. He walks through the door to pick up our 5 year old, the younger one is still in class, so he has to go back and pick her up when he drops her sister off. Hectic. He runs to the bathroom while I gather her dance shoes. In the mean time our dog is standing by the front door. EVERYONE in our house knows that if you open the door you have to watch for the dog...if he gets out, he will not come back. Our 5 year old, literally looks at the dog and opens the door to let him out. James is walking out of the bathroom as this is happening. He looks at our daughter and asks her why she did this...she has no answer. Now this happens to me at least 2-3 times a month. It used to be a lot more frequent. James goes chasing after the dog..he is not much of a runner..the dog on the other hand is extremely fast. I chuckle...so happy he has today off. After about 15 minutes I realize that I have to leave to pick up our daughter, James is still not back with the dog though. The baby is sleeping, one child is sick on the couch, and another is still in her jammies...and my 4 year old is at dance waiting to be picked up..10 minutes ago. I was a little panicked...I had to make a decision. I told my oldest to keep the door locked, and her dad would be back in a few minutes...I said a little prayer and the big guy was definitely listening because as I pulled out of the driveway, James came walking down the street, dragging our dog.

When I got home, he told me how he had ran out of our neighborhood, over a golf course (3 times) and through several backyards, sideyards, frontyards and driveways. He also witnessed our dog almost get hit by a car twice. He was so frustrated with not only the dog but our 5 year old who let him out as well.

Saying that I understood his frustration was an understatement. I deal with things like this and situations even worse every day. Being a mom is far from easy, and in all honesty I could never be successful at James' job. I appreciate his hard work, and ability to provide for our family. Its easier for me to recognize what he does for us, because his hard work creates tangible benefits on a daily basis. My hard work is more big picture. Hopefully after today, he appreciates me just a little more than he already did :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Appreciate life

Its so easy to get lost in the everyday chaos of life. I don't stop and appreciate my children, my family or my life often enough. This week has been tough with everyone being sick, myself included, and this afternoon I hit a wall. In that moment, I could only see the negative, and annoying aspects of my life - yet there is so much good that goes unnoticed.

About a week ago, before I knew that my entire household would come down with the plague, I signed myself up to volunteer in my daughters class - for today. This time was intentional (there was a bouncehouse, cotton candy and snowcones involved) After putting my feelers out on the walk to school this morning (I asked if I had to still volunteer - she responded with a firm YES), I showed up(fashionably) 15 minutes late. When I arrived on the playground, my daughter greeted me with a run and a hug, and was genuinely excited to see me (I was wearing my cool young mom clothes). Over the next two hours I helped with games and cheered against whoever was not on my daughter's team (there may have been some cheating involved...) I really enjoyed being there, and I was lucky enough to have a babysitter watch the rest of the kids so I could just focus on my daughter. As I watched her interact with her classmates, I couldn't help but notice how different I was as a child. She was so calm, cool and focused. She didn't have to try, or do anything to get anyone's attention. I was much more self conscious, and awkward. I was so proud of her and for a moment puzzled. People always comment on her intelligence, disposition and overall good character...but where does that come from, I often wonder. I mean yes, I want to take full credit - but really a lot of who she is, is who I would like to be but am not.

I am proud of all my children, each for different reasons. Some days they disappoint me, and in that moment I forget how wonderful they truly are. Just as I love James, and as all relationships, when we hit a bump it feels like we are falling off a mountain.

I want to try harder to savor the great moments, appreciate the good ones, and let the bad ones pass. One of my best qualities used to be my ability to handle what life threw at me. Over time, I started asking why, instead of figuring out how.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Late nights

It's 3 am and here I am on the couch with a boy. My 1 year old. If it were a few years ago that first sentence may have been a little risque...and the couch would have belonged to my parents. Oh how times have changed. Now a "late night" for me consists of a sick child (or 3), Tylenol, and some form of complaining (usually coming from me as I am counting down the hours until the rest of the house will be requiring my full attention...on little to no sleep)

Not that James and I don't have our share of nights out, but that comes with hefty consequences, and is usually followed with movie's and "quiet time" the day after. I think my kids love when we use poor judgment on date night. Pizza, movies, and a pajama party because mommy and daddy are "sick"...winning (last time I will ever use that phrase..it just fit..it's late)

I came downstairs with my son (who was in my bed, jamming his feet into my ribs...now I know why my parents made me sleep on the floor in their room...he's skating on thin ice) so that James could get some sleep, apparently 1 year old's have no concept of time. My daughter woke me up about an hour ago, screaming my name. Conveniently, I was in the middle of having a nightmare. I went running to her, and there she was slumped over the toilet. Her sister just got over having a stomach virus, which my son now has as well and I am sure the rest of the house will get over the next week (If you're reading this, disinfect your screen immediately). The thing about germs with a family of my size, is it takes forever for them to make the rounds. Our house will be sick for 7 week increments...I'm pretty sure that doesn't happen in a family of four. The fun part is waiting for your turn to get sick. It's like watching a plane that you're in go down..you cant prevent it. And of course when the kids are sick they want to be all over me..which is a real tough call. Do I do the mom thing and risk my health, or completely ruin their childhood to avoid being as miserable as they are in a few days. I try to compromise...so I blow them air kisses.

Hopefully everyone will get better soon, if there is one thing I can't handle its a stomach flu.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Be Aware

As parents James and I are always trying to do the "right" thing, set examples and be good leaders. Believe it or not though, we are not perfect (I'm pretty close though) and like anybody, we make mistakes. I yell when I shouldn't, I lose my patients, and at times I use poor judgment. However I do believe that we try our best, and always have our childrens best interest in mind. This post may not be as sarcastic or entertaining as some of my previous ones, but I felt that this story was important to share.

Yesterday for Mothers day, our family decided to spend the day at Sea World. We got up early, and stopped for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Upon receiving my breakfast, I took a big bite and pulled out a piece of plastic from my mouth. I was a little upset, so James decided to say something to the manager. No one yelled, the manager was very apologetic and in the end my breakfast was comped, not necessary but much appreciated. With that, we were off to the theme park.

The night before our trip, we purchased annual passes to Sea World and Busch Gardens online, and printed out e-tickets. When we arrived at the park there several options of getting in, but no one to assist. We went through the main gate and were sent to a kiosk, which was unable to print our tickets, finally we ended up in a sea of people (no pun intended) waiting in line behind a row of ticket booths. No exaggeration, we waited in that line for over an hour. At one point a woman walked right up to one of the windows and said she was "sick of waiting" and would appreciate it if they could just look up her info in the system so she could go in. Unbelievably, they let her cut the whole line. I know this sounds very long and drawn out but that's kinda the point...it was a long, unorganized, mess. Once we were in I was frustrated, and maybe the breakfast incident gave me a little boost - but I felt that it was important to voice my opinion to a manager. James stayed with the kids while I took 5 minutes to talk to a customer service employee behind closed doors. No yelling, just me expressing my frustration and once again the employee was very understanding.

Finally we were able to get on with our day. We tried to make the most of things, despite our tainted first impression. Unfortunately, the park was a little disappointing, many of the shows were closed and a lot of the activities cost extra money (I don't mean merchandise either). After several hours of walking, we decided to stop for a drink and take a rest.

As we walked towards a table we heard a man screaming at his little girl. This little girl was no older than 6, and clearly upset. She seemed to be kicking a fit over something. The man then proceeded to shout "I am going to do this to you in front of all these people" he then grabbed her by the arm and started spanking her. This wasn't a controlled spanking, this was an act of rage. He was mocking her and calling her names. At one point he told her that he was going to tell all her friends that she was a cry baby. James and I were in shock, no body around was doing or saying anything. I began to give the father a dirty look, which had no effect. James then starting talking about him very loudly, he was pointing out how this man who was reprimanding his child for her lack of self control, had none himself. Then, out of nowhere, this teen age boy started yelling at James and I, stating that man was his father. He told us we had no idea what it was like, if he meant being a frustrated parent he clearly had no idea himself. I kind of laughed him off, but he exploded. He was screaming "F--- You!" over and over, inches from our faces and his body language looked as though he was going to attack us. James and I quickly grabbed the kids, as the boy ran towards his father. Before we could even react, both men were running in the other direction.

We stood there in shock. The rest of the day was weird, and by the end of it we were more than ready to go home.

In the car, with the kids half asleep and preoccupied by one another, James and I reflected on the situation. Most importantly, we were upset that we couldn't help that little girl. What must happen behind closed doors..the thought was hard to swallow. We talked about how the entire family had no self control, and a father who set no example for his children. James said he wanted to knock them both out (he's 6'5, 290 I think he stature alone was a little intimidating), but he couldn't. Our children were there, what would they think? How do we teach children not to hit, and then do it ourselves. It's never OK to lose control like that. I thought back about the other incidents that day, and how unintentionally I kept my composure. We came to the conclusion that our children make us better, and that every decision is based around them.

I woke up thinking about that little girl, and if any of you pray, please say a special one for her. We cannot control others actions, we can only hope to influence them. Maybe if each of us were more aware of what we said and did, things would change. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and feelings will always play a huge role in our lives, but I guess it's more about how we react than anything else.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Summer $pending

Kids are (bleepin') EXPENSIVE! I did the math this morning (not the best time to do math...it took me a while to figure how many children we actually have) and realized that the cost to send all 5 children to summer camp would be equivalent to renting a summer home in the Hamptons (maybe on the outskirts..not "technically" the Hamptons). Since I will be in school for a few hours a day, I will need part time child care. I was thinking of maybe having a contest with all the kids..."who can make mommy smile the most"...it would consist of light house work, a few foot rubs and a low key dinner prep...the two kids who perform the best get to go to camp. Sounds fair...maybe not...I guess camp is out this summer. I could however have someone come to my home and watch all 5 of my angels, for a fraction of the cost of camp. With that said, I do not want my children to miss out on typical summer activities, or feel "bored". I am hoping to plan an inexpensive agenda-o-fun for the baby sitter to follow each day, allowing the kids to get the camp experience right at home.

Although I'm not the most organized, creative or enthusiastic mother on the planet, I think I could come up with some great activities. Budgeting is also not a strong point of mine, nor is time management. Oh god, now I know why camp is so expensive - this is going to be another full time job. (I count being a girlfriend and a mom as 2 full time jobs..student...and don't forget stage mom). Nevertheless, I'm doing this. My best friend and I growing up always wanted to have a summer camp (at the mature ages of 8 & 9)...I'm living out another childhood dream (I also wanted 100 children). I will keep you guys posted on my progress and feel free to make suggestions.

Friday, May 6, 2011

sign me up...

I have a knack for signing myself up for things that I have no business being involved in. Last year at my kindergartners open house I signed myself up to be the room mom - and at the time I was just about 9 months pregnant. It really was a mistake, but after I put my name on the list, and was then praised for being THE ONLY mom to sign up, how could I say no?? Luckily I had the baby shortly there after and was medically excused...although I'm pretty sure I received hate mail from some of the kids because of a lack of parties that year. I have no problem volunteering, but I'm not "Queen B" material. Well once again I have volunteered my (lack of)time...

I received an email this week about an important meeting regarding my two youngest girls dance recital. I simply read "IMPORTANT" the date and the time. Other than that I have no idea what else the email said. I show up (20 minutes late) to the meeting last night, to find out that its a meeting for moms who would like to volunteer for picture day, rehearsals and the recital - not your choice but all 3. Yes I am now a stage mom. I wanted to walk out, but once again no one else volunteered for my kids class, so I looked like a hero. I received a two page instruction manual with the first instruction being to arrive 10 minutes early to each event...already bombed that. I will also be responsible for every child's hair and make up...really?? I don't even do a good job on my own hair and make up...half the time my own kids are touching me up before I go out. Another responsibility will be to check each costume, and make sure every girl looks the same. My daughter was always the kid that was missing a bow, lost a glove or had the wrong color tights...now I am supposed to crucify any child who is not perfectly in sync with the rest of the group. Is this karma?? I haven't read past the first few expectations, I didn't want to drain all of my confidence in one day. I did however catch Kaylee reading the entire manual this morning, I may use her as a mentor. She would be a great a stage mom...we do look a lot alike...maybe she can just do it...I mean for the sake of the recital!

On a completely unrelated note...my car is past the point of messy..to just down right disgusting. I almost had an emotional break down at publix when the bagger INSISTED on walking me out to the car. No means NO lady! My poor kids had to wait outside while we put the groceries in the trunk because I refused to open the door, I wasn't willing to risk the chance of her catching a glimpse. Then yesterday at the drive through the man in the window offered to "take some of my empty cups" ... they aren't empty...and I would appreciate if he would keep his eyes on me. He then suggested a car wash place that has a 48 hour guarantee on love bugs. I get the point...I think I'm going to go clean the beast up before it ruins my weekend.

I hope everyone has a great mothers day!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

College bound

OK so I'm officially a student...or officially in debt..better yet both! I'm a broke, eager, student! Except. unfortunately my boyfriend does not like ramen noodles, so I wont get all the perks of being a college student. (I happen to prefer cup-o-noodles myself) I start school in about 3 weeks, and it couldn't come sooner!

I'm going for massage therapy and skin care - best part, is that you receive massages and facials while your in class. It's going to be like having a 15 month long "girls day at the spa". James better be prepared to take care of the kids if one gets sick because I'm not giving up some rejuvenation time to play nurse...I would have gone to nursing school for that...kidding...but seriously I will be administering heavy doses of vitamin C over the next year and half.

School has always been tough for me, I was interested in other things...like running into walls to get a laugh or seeing how many napkins I could fit in my mouth (don't judge me) regardless school was just not on my priority list. But of course I regret all those bad choices, I missed out on a lot and in the long run - other than mom - I don't have much of a title. Thank GOD my kids love school and thrive, more so than I ever did. I want so much more for them, and I think I pretty much have the teen pregnancy issue handled. After as much as they will have to be "mommy's helper", I'm certain they will be wiser than I in that area.

Bottom line, goals are so important. My recent one is to finish the massage and skin care program and build my own business. I think some women are able to make motherhood their business, and I envy them. Those moms (like my own) who have patience, understanding and wisdom to endlessly provide are incredible - I just dont have that. My children teach me how to be a good mom, they show me the "right" way to do things...actually my kids sort of run things..in fact I think one grounded me the other day. Those mom's are what I wish I was, but I'm still equally inlove with my children and provide them the best life that I know how. So while some choose college, others parenthood, or even a life long hobby - all goals are equally important.

And with that, I wish you each success in your current and future goals!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

All grown up

I have been busy the past few days doing grown up things...no not those kind of grown up things..less exciting grown up things. I'm finally going back to school (5th time's a charm?) which requires entirely too much preparation, in fact its almost discouraging and probably weeds out the slackers from ever even going back. So between school prep, kid stuff, health stuff and the everyday minutia, I'm really starting to feel old. I catch myself enjoying things that just a few years ago would be lame...example I went to the grand opening of the dollar tree today...and "browsed". I did buy some sponges and an awesome micro-fiber towel...see there it is, my lame inner old person. Its just strange to start to become your parents, but I think I would rather grow than be stuck in the past. I'm happy where I am and look forward to whats next.

OMG its almost 11 PM - I should have been in bed HOURS ago!!