I hate when my husband has to leave in the middle of the day. It is so hard on Monster. Daddy came home in the middle of the day, packed his bag, and left. Monster cried. Then he said, "Even though I will miss Daddy so much, he'll always be with me because he's in my heart." Then he tries to be brave for me. "It's OK to be sad Daddy is leaving. I'll take care of you." My little man. I love him so.
Yesterday was just one of those days. Normally, I'm a great multi-tasker. I have to be. But, for some reason, yesterday, I just had too much on my mind. Unfortunately, that caused me to almost burn down the house.
It was a warm afternoon, so I threw the kids in the pool. I needed to start dinner, which happened to be chicken tacos. I ran inside to start browning the chicken. I hear screaming. I race outside to find Monster and Sunshine fighting in the pool. I settle that down. I remember that I forgot to make a phone call I had promised to make. I grab the phone. I go back inside, move the chicken around a little in the skillet. I go back out to watch the kids and make my call. I'm talking, cleaning up outside toys, trying to get the dog on the porch so the neighbor dog doesn't eat him, and trying to make sure the kids don't kill each other in the pool. I hear my annoying neighbor talking on his porch. Then I hear this strange noise. Kind of sounded like someone was vacuuming. Monster kept asking, "What's that noise?". I kept trying to shush him because I was on the phone. This noise went on for a good 5 minutes. All of sudden, I realized what that noise was....it was my chicken on the stove. The smoke alarm was going off. The house was filled with smoke. The chicken was just about on fire, literally. I shut the burner off, grab the pan and race outside with it. The pan was BLACK. Now, the ironic thing was, I happened to be on the phone with my friend, who just two weeks ago, burnt a hole through one of her pans. I've burnt many things in old cookware that wasn't able to be saved. So, I'm thinking my poor skillet is done for, not to mention we now have no dinner.
Fast forward to after running out to get Chipotle for dinner... I bring the pan back in. I decide to try to see if I can salvage it. I run it under hot water. Burned pieces just start washing off. I'm shocked. I continue and more and more pieces come off, leaving my beautiful stainless steel shining through! Most of the burned part came off with very little effort. After a little elbow grease, the pan was almost perfect. A little Bar Keepers Friend, and the skillet is a shiny stainless steel again! I can't tell you how happy I am with my cookware set. I now swear by the Tri-Ply Stainless Steel set from Calphalon. I've only had it a little over a year and it's already proving to be, by far, the best cookware set I've ever seen, let alone owned! If you're looking for new cookware, I highly recommend it!
Our family is rather small. I'm an only child and my husband only has one sister. My parents are about 45 minutes away. My husband's mom is in the next town over and his father is in Florida. I have no grandparents left and my husband only has one who lives across the country. So, with that, family has to be what you make it. I know people say you can't choose you family. That may be true, but you can choose your village.
As I stated in a previous post, my playgroup is my family. They are part of my village. They are the ones who are there for me, no matter what. However, my village includes more people, some of whom I've never met. Several years back, I met an awesome group of women on a site called CafeMom. For one reason or another, we all clicked. I am so fortunate to also have these women as part of my village. I share secrets, fears, laughter, and everthing in between with these people. They don't judge. We all stick by one another. When someone's child accomplishes something, we aren't jealous our child can't do the same, we are proud of the other child. It's so nice to have people like that in my life. So many times, whether intentional or not, moms try to one up each other. I'm guilty of it, but I really try not to. I know how it feels. I have people in my life who constantly make me feel like my children are behind or "not good enough". That's one of the many reasons why I'm thankful for my village. When it gets too out of hand, I rely on them to make me realize my kids are perfectly normal and they are the best kids they can be.
This has been the summer for growing up. It has been the first time Monster has been away from home 5 days a week with new groups of people. First was Safety Town. He loved it. Next came VBS. Again, loved it. This week starts soccer camp. For some reason, this one really has me freaking out. Safety Town and VBS all had security measures to be checked in and checked out. Soccer, not so much. It's more of a free for all. It's also in the 90's here all week. I'm worried about sunburn and dehydration. I keep asking myself why I even signed him up. I mean he's only 5! Then I remember, oh yeah, because he'll love it.
The first day was actually worse than I anticipated. First, Monster was one of the youngest ones there, only he and one other child were 5. There were only three coaches for about 60 or so kids. The coaches never introduced themselves to the parents. Once the kids were signed in, a coach yelled, "OK, everyone, come with me," and they were off. Monster really had no clue as to what to do. I watched for about 5 minutes. When I was confident he was actually participating, I left. As I pulled out of the parking lot, not only was I crying, but so was Sunshine. She kept saying over and over "No leave [Monster]" and "[Sunshine] want [Monster]". It was heart breaking. Even more so because it's how I felt as well. I showed up about 20 minutes early to get him. When I got there, they were taking a water break. Poor Monster, he looked so lost. He didn't know where he was supposed to sit or what was expected of him. He took everything out of his backpack and had it spread all over the place. He couldn't find anything. Now, granted he's definitely not the most organized kid, but there were so many older kids and no coaches to help the younger ones. When they went back out on the field, I gathered all of this stuff for him. It was literally spread everywhere. What I learned was not to pack so efficiently. No extra clothes, no extra bag with ice packs and water bottles. Just the basics.
He did have a good time, or so he said. When I asked him what he did, he told me he just watched the other kids because that's how he learns. I asked him if he played and ran around. He told me not a lot. It broke my heart, but he seems happy. He said he likes it. So, we'll do this again tomorrow. Hoping for no tears from anyone.
I don't know how single moms do it. It's hard to have no help. My husband was out of town all week and I was beat! My husband works long and crazy hours anyway so he's not home for that much time before the kids head to bed. However, when he's away, that hour and a half an evening he takes them is heaven. My brain just shuts down when he gets home. I start to run on auto pilot. I make dinner. I sit and eat dinner. After dinner I do dishes. All the same tasks as when he's away, but with one big difference....I don't have the kids to worry about. Half the time, I don't even realize the kids are around when I'm auto. There is nothing like a good co-pilot to make you feel safe and secure. I am so fortunate that my husband is great man. I'm lost when he's gone.
Playgroup has saved my life. Sounds nuts, I know, but it has. Three years ago, I was invited to join a playgroup for Monster. It was nice. Had a good time. Got adult conversation in. Monster got to play with kids his age. However, it just kept getting bigger and bigger until it eventually fizzled out because it was so big. When Sunshine was a little over a year, I thought it was time for her to have a playgroup (and time for me to have adult conversations again). So, I took it upon myself to form one. I went down the list of MOMS Club members and found 5 other moms with children all within 6 months of Sunshine. They were random, not a group I regularly hung out with. I kept it at a total of 6 of us. I felt that, with siblings coming also, would be a good number...not too big, not too small.
Last summer, I sent out an email asking these five other ladies if they would be interested. Everyone said yes. So, September of last year, we had our first playgroup. Almost a year later, we've rarely missed one week where all or most of us have gotten together. This group of five random ladies and their children have become my family. I know that I could call any of them up at any given moment and I would find someone there to help, support or just listen. It started out being something I did for my daughter and has ended up being something I don't know if I could live without.
Oh, and Sunshine loves it as well :)
Today was a first. Monster's first movie theater experience. Now, most people can't believe my 5 year old has never been to a movie before. Well, that's because my 5 year old doesn't care. He doesn't like movies all that much. He doesn't like TV all that much either. He'd rather be DOING something than sitting around. Also, the kid is sensitive. He's going to read this in 10 years and be mortified I would tell this secret, but he is. He is ultra sensitive. We have tried watching movies at home. Most don't go so well. Finding Nemo...he made it until the end where Nemo goes down the drain and then lost it. Uncontrollable sobbing. He couldn't even finish that one to see that it's going down the drain that helps him find his father. 101 Dalmatians...lost it when the men stole the puppies. Again, uncontrollable sobbing at the "mean men". Toy Story...now, he liked this one, in theory. When the mutant toys all come out in Sid's room, he gets scared. We have to fast forward through that and hold his hand. We made it all of 5 minutes into Disney's Earth. Then some animal ate another one and that was it. Happy Feet made him sad because the penguin didn't have friends. Parts of Madagascar scared him. I could go on. There have been two movies that he can watch though, Cars and Robots. He loves Cars. Frank the Combine scares him a little, but he can get through that part. So, when Monster found out Cars 2 was coming out, he really wanted to go see it....in the theater.
My husband and I discussed it. We talked about the pros and cons, what we would do if he freaked out, etc. We talked about it with Monster. If the movie scares you, we can't fast forward. The theater is dark and we can't turn on the lights. We can't stop the movie to go to the bathroom. We prepared the hell out of him for his first movie theater experience. We even read the Cars 2 books when they came out so we would have the basic plot.
Even after all the prep, we really weren't sure how he would do. We got a sitter for Sunshine and we headed off on our adventure. Monster could not stop talking about it. He was so excited and a little nervous. "Just like when I go to a new school or class, Mommy" was how he decided how he was feeling. As we head in, Monster is quiet and perfectly behaved. He's in awe of the whole thing. We get popcorn (at 10am...not really a breakfast food) and head on in. We find seats and get ready. My kid was great. He was literally the best one there. He sat. He watched. He asked questions quietly when he needed to know something. When the movie was over, he was so proud of himself. He was thrilled he got to see it AND he loved it! He asked, "Can we watch it again?".
I'm pretty darned proud of my little Monster. He's growing up.
What do you do all day? That's the question most people ask, or want to ask, stay at home moms. For some reason, people tend to think we sit around, watching Soaps and eating Bon bons. Uh, no. A Mom's work is 24/7, at least for most of us. Let me give you a brief example of "normal". Today was an errand day....errands I've been putting off because I've really been hoping my husband would get home "early" so I could do some of the things without kids in tow. No such luck. So, my day.
5:30: Wake up to husband's alarm
5:45: Wake up to alarm again
6:30: Actually get out of bed exhausted and with lower back pain. Get coffee. Let dog out. Go find dog when he won't come in. Get on email and try to enjoy coffee. Make list of things to do for the day.
7:15: Monster gets up, freaks out because he lost his toys the night before for not cleaning them up. Calm Monster down. Help him find toys he has not lost. Build space ships. Get more coffee. Let dog out again. Build more space ships. Go find the damned dog. Walk back into the clean computer room to find the ONE toy my son is able to use spread out all over the place. Help gather them into a sort of pile. Hear Sunshine wake up. Get another cup of coffee. Go get Sunshine. Watch her and Monster play peek-a-boo. Change Sunshine's diaper. Head back downstairs. Watch as Sunshine immediately goes for the space ships Monster built. Intervene before WWIII breaks out. Find out what Monster wants for breakfast since Sunshine is STILL eating lunch from the day before (new rule in our house is if you don't eat it when you get it, you'll keep getting it until you eat it). Get kids breakfast. Change Sunshine's diaper, again. Round kids up to sit down for breakfast. Empty dishwasher from night before. Take out recycling. Feed dog. Let dog out. Battle Sunshine to eat. Take Sunshine's food away, again, and tell her she'll get it for lunch. Get Sunshine dressed. Get me dressed. Brush my teeth. Find the stupid dog. Try to hurry Monster up with breakfast because we have to get out of the house. Gather breakfast dishes. Gather up towels to try to get them in the wash. Monster gets dressed. Load up recyclables to take in. Load up bags for people and places. Find library books to return. Find bag for library books. Find kids summer reading sheets. Initial summer reading sheets. Put reading sheets in bag. Put library bag in car. Grab list off counter. Put shoes on Monster and Sunshine. Load Monster and Sunshine into car. Make phone call to make sure stop one will be home. Remember I have to lock gate for furry baby and run back into house and upstairs to do that. See pile of towels as I'm coming back down. Grab towels and run down the basement and quickly throw them in washer. Come back up and finally get in car.
9:00 Leave house. Run out to stop #1 to drop stuff off. Chat a bit. Head to stop #2, which is recycling. Wait in line to check in. Park. Unload Monster. Unload recycling. Supervise Monster with his pile of recycling while trying to run through mine. Load up glass bin and get back in car. Head to stop #3. Library. Find a stupid spot (anyone from this area knows how crazy library parking is). Unload both kids and books (yet forget the books in the trunk for the book sale...). Hike to the library. Go check to see if we have holds. We don't. Go see the guinea pig. Go turn in our summer reading sheets. Try to pick out only one book each for their reward. (Now, as a side note, this is MUCH harder than it sounds. Each of my children had to go through EACH book and figure out if they wanted it. Out of a ton of appropriate books, both my kids seemed to only pick out inappropriate books.) Finally decide on books and show the books to that stupid guinea pig. Head out and hike back down to car. (Here is where I realized I forgot the books for the sale). Debated on hiking back up to take books. Decided against it. Loaded both kids up. Headed out to stop #4. Dropped off bag of books and coloring books to the Children's Center. Next, stop #5. Dropped stuff off at a friend's house. While dropping stuff off, decided to do an impromptu stop at Hobby Lobby for cake pop supplies. So, stop #6, Hobby Lobby. Unload kids. Try to usher them to the back of the store where the cake pop stuff is. Get stuff. Kids fight over holding the stuff. End up getting more stuff than I needed just so both kids could hold things. Maneuvered my way to the checkout. Rounded up children and headed out. Loaded both kids back up. Off to stop #7. Sally's Beauty for green hair gel. Unloaded both kids. Ran into store. Immediately asked for the gel so I didn't have to mess around with looking up and down isles. Rounded kids up and headed back to car. Loaded both kids up. Headed to stop #8. Target. My "biggest" stop. Unloaded kids. Saw a two seater cart and sent Monster after it. Someone got there before him. Sunshine screamed when I tried to cram her into a regular cart after the promise of the two-seater. Dug list out of purse. Smooth sailing until we hit the cheese. Negotiated two different types of cheese so each child could, once again, hold their own. Found smallest check out line and got out. Saw no one was at Starbucks. Ran and got a Venti Soy Chai. Headed back out to car. Loaded Monster in, unloaded bags, loaded Sunshine in, headed out. Only two more stops Mommy promised some hungry kids. On to stop #9. Another friend's to drop something off. Someone was walking into her house, so I handed off the bag and was on my way. Stop #10! Last one! Friend wasn't home so left a bag on the porch.
11:30 Finally home. Unload bags. Come back and unload kids. Let the dog out. Unpack bags and put stuff away. Make lunch for kids. Change another diaper. Get kids situated for lunch. Remember my Chai in the car. Go get it. Sit down for 5 seconds and take a sip. Dog wants in. Go sit back down. Monster needs more to eat. Get it. Sit down. Sunshine wants what Monster has. Argue with the two year old about her not getting anything else until she finishes the food she didn't eat at breakfast. Take another sip. Monster needs more food. Get it. Sit down. Sunshine finishes food from breakfast and wants lunch food. Get back up. Decide while I'm up I should also probably get myself something to eat. Find some hummus and pita. Kids want it. Divide that up. Get back up to find more food for me. Give up.
12:15....Seriously? It's only 12:15 now?!?! Both kids finally done. Clean up lunch dishes and table. Decide it's a good time to vacuum. Vacuum all of downstairs and decide to do upstairs, too. Kids jumping around playing "the vacuum is going to get us game". Most of house done. Empty and put vacuum away. Get Sunshine on potty. Takes her dear old time. Send Monster to the other potty to hurry things along. Have each kid pick two books for nap. Read books. Sing songs. Kiss Monster. Go to Sunshine's room. Rock her a bit and kiss her goodnight.
12:40 Head downstairs. Realize I didn't finish chai. Grab it and head to the computer to check and send emails. All is quiet. Figure that, since it's been 3 days with no shower, now would be a good time. Go up to tell Monster I'll be in the shower. He's sound asleep Whoo hoo!! Take a nice LONG shower.
1:20 Think of all the stuff I have to still do. Wonder why I have accomplished nothing. Then, realized that I did more in my morning than some people do in a day, and I did it with two kids in tow. Decide to write about that.
Monster got up in the middle of writing, so the rest of my day is a blur. It involved laundry, cleaning, letting the dog in and out. Cleaning up dog poop and Sunshine poop. And then headed out with friends.
This was a quiet day. An easy day. Everyone behaved. Things went smoothly. Most days are not like that. Most days I'm lucky to know my own name. But, days that run smoothly, I'm convinced I can do anything...and a hell of a lot better and more efficiently than most people.
I hate admitting I'm wrong. Or rather, I hate admitting someone else was right. Lying in bed last night though, I had to admit to myself that my dad was right. We should add on to our house. Now, let me back up just a little. I don't sleep, at least not well. It takes me no less than a half hour to fall asleep every night, and that's a good night. I lie awake thinking. That's just bad. One thought leads to another, to another, to another, until I'm clenching my jaw and giving myself a headache. It's a fun ritual.
Back to my dad being right. Lying there, I hear Monster hit is wall in his sleep. One thought then leads to another. If he hits he rolls into his wall in his sleep, how I can we put him in a loft? He'll fall out. If we can't put him in a loft, what are we going to do about Sunshine? The plan was to move Monster back into Sunshine's room with a loft bed and let Sunshine have the bigger room. But now what? Where are we going to put a regular bed? The room is only 8x8. With the way the window, vent, closet and door are placed, a twin bed can't even fit. If we just add on 5 feet....that's just the size of me, but boy would that make a difference in both kids' rooms. If we add on, we wouldn't even need a loft. And since it's only the size of me, it won't make that big of a difference in our driveway space that we'd be losing by adding on. How would that work? How would the roof lines match up? Could we still fit the work truck and car in the drive? That bush would have to go....Yay! So if we add 5 feet, maybe we could make an enclosed walk way to the basement, too...
Forty-five minutes have now slipped by. I'm lying awake stressing and planning that 5 feet. FIVE FEET! I'm stressing about imaginary space the size of me. Not to mention my kids are only 2 and 5. Sunshine is still in her crib, for goodness sake! It's not like we can even afford to add on either, so why even think about it? Yet, my father put this all in my head. When we bought the house 8 years ago, he said, "If you just bring this out even 5 feet you'd have so much more room"
So, thanks Dad for sticking that idea in my head 8 years ago so I could lie awake and fret over it. You were right. Five feet would make a big difference.
I suck at baby books. When I was pregnant with my first, I had all these high hopes of how I would document his every move. When I was pregnant with my second, I vowed to catch up on the first's baby book and keep the second's current. Now, I realize that, after 5 years, I only have both kids birth weights and heights down. Each time my daughter gets a new tooth, I think, "I need to go write that down!", and I never do. Every time my kids say something funny or interesting, I think, "I need to go write that down!", but, yet again, never do. So, I'm figuring maybe with this site, I'll be more inclined to write stuff down. To remember my kids as just that, kids. I'm doing this for me. For them.
Plus....if my mom actually gets on here, I don't have to call her 100 times a day to share cute things the kids do :)