children, family, gratitude, happiness, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

I Tink I Love You

When I was young, I always dreamed of having a family of my own. For some reason, for years I was convinced that my firstborn would be a daughter who would look just like me. I imagined she was be shy and quiet. She would read books, chase butterflies and have deep, empathic qualities. As you know, instead I was blessed with quite the exact opposite.

As parents, sometimes it’s easier to believe that if our children were like us, that somehow, they would make more ‘sense’ to us. We spend a lot of time analyzing our kids and how we think they should be. Certainly, we’ve lived enough life to know what has worked for us. Since our children share our genes, it seems reasonable that what worked for us will work for them. Unfortunately, this is seldom the case.

Having just returned from a Disney cruise, which was phenomenal, I have to admit, there were times I longed for that little girl who would happily pose with me for every Disney character under the sun. Instead, I had two extremely reluctant boys that had to be threatened into photo compliance. Stinky attitudes aside, these boys somehow amazingly pulled it together and rocked out each and every photo.

Yes, I made them pose with Tinkerbell
Yes, I made them pose with Tinkerbell
The cutest pirates on the planet
The cutest pirates on the planet
Being forced to pose with Mom again
Being forced to pose with Mom again

I couldn’t imagine two more extraordinary, bright, entertaining and loving kids.

What I have learned is that the children you are given are rarely what you expect them to be, but miraculously, are more amazing than you could ever hope for.

children, dogs, family, gratitude, happiness, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Walks are for the Dogs

It seems that as long as T.Puzzle continues to do well, the return of the dogs is permanent.  Full Speed has stated that since having them home, he is the happiest he’s ever been in his whole life.  T.Puzzle is excited because he is no longer the shortest living being in our household.  For me, I am in my element when I am walking the dogs.  There is something about their quiet company with nothing but blue sky overhead that fills my heart with joy.  I have even made it a standing ritual that on most days during the week, the boys and I will walk to school with the dogs.  I use the term ‘walk’ loosely.  I need to invent a word that falls somewhere in between walking and standing still.  I’m not sure why exactly that it takes us 45 minutes to walk a 20 minute distance.  Of course once we begin our walk, I am subjected to loads of feedback concerning the weather conditions.   One boy will tell me that he’s certain a blizzard is coming because it is so cold while the other thinks the wind may freeze his face off.  Keep in mind, we live in a very warm climate and it’s only November where most days the temperatures still climb near 80 degrees.  I have attempted some preventative measures to help minimize the climate related feedback.  I brought out a pull-over hoodie for Full Speed to wear on a particularly chilly morning.  He took one look at it and said he wasn’t going to wear it.  Apparently, he got ‘trapped’ in it last year and he wasn’t willing to ‘go in that direction’ again.  All I can say is, thank god for zippers and get your shoes on boy…it’s dog walkin’ time.

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children, family, gratitude, happiness, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Our Time is Short

There was as time, not so long ago, that all I wanted for my birthday was a grown up day or night away from my boys. This wasn’t the case this year. We planned something kid-friendly and I had an absolute blast. I know, I was shocked, too.

On the actual day of my birthday when faced with the choice of eating at a dinosaur-themed restaurant or someplace calm and quiet, I actually chose the dinosaur-themed one. I wasn’t held at gunpoint or anything like that. Maybe it was because my birthday marked the passage of time or maybe I had a little heat stroke as it was incredibly hot at Downtown Disney, but I was happy to see my boys’ faces light up as the meteors rained down and the dinosaurs roared.

The next day, as I watched my boys run ahead to catch up with Mad Dog at Universal Studios, I really got it. My time with my boys is short. I can either spend these fleeting years reading quietly or, step outside my comfort zone and ride a Transformers ride in which I actually kind of feared for my life (please, don’t tell anyone).

This is my time to really enjoy the art of mothering. I’ve put in all the exhausting, hard years. I’ve been the captain of the No Fun Police for longer than I can remember. This is my time to trust that they will behave in public (mostly), that they will be highly entertaining to converse with (always) and that they still actually want to hang out with me. I’m sure being close personal friends with Bumblebee helps.

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children, family, gratitude, happiness, humor, kids, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting

Always Do Your Best

We are finally home from a ten-day trip.  We had an awesome time in Pigeon Forge, TN.  Here are a few things I learned:

1. Directions in unfamiliar territory seem to be a hot-button issue in my marriage.  I don’t know what it is about not knowing where you are at that brings out the worst in me and my beloved.  Regardless of a few tense moments, we always managed to reach our destination.  For the most part, we also managed to still love each other even if we didn’t always like each other in the process.

2.  Spending time with my nieces and nephew was fantastic.  If I had it my way, I would have all my nieces and nephews live on my street and have them over as much as possible.

3.  No matter where you put my boys, they are in a constant competition with life and each other.  They had an hour-long debate over who came in first in a go-cart race.  If I thought Mad Dog and I were heated over directions, it was nothing compared to the constant chatter of winner vs. loser between our boys.  And, unfortunately, they never ever agreed to disagree.  Made for some long rides back to our cabin.

4.  So, their competitive streak has its downside, but surprisingly, it also has an immense upside.  We were at Dixie Stampede which is Dolly Parton’s dinner attraction.  The boys were selected by our server to be in a chicken chasing competition.  They strategized from the moment they were selected.  Full Speed instructed T.Puzzle where and how to run.  T.Puzzle was overwhelmed at first by the enormity of the arena and the crowd.  He stood quaking at the side of the gate right before they were sent in.  Once inside the big, gaping, dust-covered space, he looked at Full Speed and they both got that look of determination on their faces.  When the chickens were released, theirs didn’t stand a chance.  Full Speed ran so intensely after it he fell down nearly crushing the chicken.  They worked as a team and ran with such fire, the other two boys on the opposing side looked as if they were moving in slow-motion.  Even after they successfully crossed the finish line, T.Puzzle kept chasing his chicken.  He almost ran it all the way back to where the rest of show animals were being housed.

The boys show off their victory medals with pride.  Thank goodness they were on the same team!
The boys show off their victory medals with pride. Thank goodness they were on the same team!

I may get frustrated by the intensity of my boys, but I have to say, seeing them give their all in everything they do, even chasing a chicken, keeps me inspired to always do my best.

It’s good to be home!

gratitude, happiness, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Beach Football

Mad Dog travelled this week so it was just me and the boys.  As the boys are older, these stretches of time without Mad Dog are easier and easier.  It has gotten so much easier that sometimes, I even manage to have fun with the boys.  This concept of fun as I am lone-parenting was inconceivable a couple of years ago.  I am so thankful for how far we’ve grown as a family.

That’s not to say that my authority isn’t tested, my patience isn’t tried and brothers don’t try to maul each other.  Maybe I’ve grown immune to some of the craziness and have accepted that if my boys are awake, peace and calm have most likely left the building.  It also helps when one or both of them say something so cute, it immediately erases any frustration from my memory stores.

As I was supervising evening showers, Full Speed shared his thoughts.  “Mom, I know you really want a beach condo.  I am going to try my best to find a way to help Dad get you that condo.  How do you think I could do that?”

First of all, if you know me at all, I dream about living near the ocean on a daily basis.  For that to register with my 8-year-old felt like reward enough.  Secondly, a beach condo seems inconsequential to my happiness if my kid grows up to be as thoughtful and caring as he was in this moment.

“Full Speed, that is so nice of you to offer to help me and your Dad out, but don’t you worry, we’ve got that covered.  All I want is for you to be happy and do something you really love when you grow up.”

He thought about what I said for a moment and then continued, “Well, maybe I could play football.  Some players get a million dollars a game.  If I play five games, that’s five million dollars and that could really help out.”

Sounds like a win-win, doesn’t it?

Even at age two, Full Speed knew he loved football
Even at age two, Full Speed knew he loved football