children, gratitude, happiness, life in pictures, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting

Happy Birthday, T.Puzzle

T.Puzzle turns four today!

My baby is now officially in big boy territory.  Let’s hope like his brother before him, this increases his awesomeness tenfold.  Let’s leave the terrible ones, twos and threes behind us forever.

The birth of a child is always a vivid memory.  T.Puzzle’s stands out because I went into labor (after a solid month of miserably contracting for no reason) on the night of our third wedding anniversary.  I was in complete denial.  I can even remember the clothes I was wearing in great detail.  That’s mainly because I was so huge (T.Puzzle ended up being a healthy 9lb 7oz), I only had one semi-dressy maternity outfit that fit me reasonably well.  Black pants, with a huge amount of stretch no less, and a long-sleeved black tunic with red and white dots to top off this stylish ensemble. Pregnancy is certainly not about the fashion.

When I realized that the Braxton Hicks I was having were actually closer to the real deal, we went to the hospital where I continued to deny I was in labor.  I even got to watch an episode of Sex and the City on TBS as we waited to see if I dilated more.

Eventually, I couldn’t deny it any longer.  T.Puzzle came into this world and screamed louder than any newborn I have ever known.  I remember thinking, ‘baby, you’re suppose to be my easy one,’ and this only seemed to increase his volume.

Easy or not, he is the best second kid anyone could hope for.

Happy  birthday, T.Puzzle.  I love you!

children, gratitude, happiness, kids, marriage, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting

Cupcakes and Picnics

With Mad Dog away, in the evening I have decided to watch the Sound of Music with the boys.  Each night we curl up in our loft and watch the adventures of Maria unfold.

It seems they are enjoying it.  Full Speed woke up on Monday singing “How do you solve a problem like, Mari-aaah?”  He also is growing quite a crush on the littlest Von Trapp, Gretel.  “Mom, she’s so cute.”

T.Puzzle, well, he loves anything musical.  That is how I know we are related.

As the Von Trapp children traipsed through the fields of the Austrian mountains, Full Speed was very concerned that they left their picnic food unattended.

“Who is going to clean that up?” he wondered.  He’s not at all phased that the cast breaks into spontaneous song or that they end up in 47 different locations during the song’s 4 minute montage.  Nope.  He’s worried about the picnic.  In fact, he’d really like a picinic.

T.Puzzle wants one, too.  He would like to have chicken and cupcakes on the menu.

Do-Ray-Me-Fa-So it looks like a picnic may be in our future.

Know any good cupcake recipes?  I bet Maria would.  If nothing else, maybe I’ll break into song about it later.

children, gratitude, happiness, kids, mommyhood

Frosted Cupcakes (Almost)

Today is an exciting celebratory and busy, busy day. It is Mad Dog’s and my sixth anniversary and we are celebrating T.Puzzle’s third birthday. His birthday is technically the day after our anniversary but we need to take advantage of his aunt and cousins being here. When I went in to get him up this morning I said, “Who is celebrating their birthday today?”

T.Puzzle replied, “Thomas!” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he isn’t in fact, a tank engine.

I would write more but my guilt of being a Mom of a kid with a food allergy is not affording me any extra time. T.Puzzle is allergic to eggs so I have spent my morning making dozens of eggless cupcakes (I want him to have a bunch to take to school tomorrow on his actual birthday). They still needed to be frosted and sprinkled and frankly, I don’t want to spend the remainder of my sister’s visit attached to the computer or stuck in the kitchen. I also need to put my sister to work. Hope she’s a good cupcake froster!

children, loss of parent, mommyhood, self-discovery, terrible twos

Stinky Socks


At Full Speed’s mini-birthday celebration T.Puzzle fought tooth and nail when presented with the decorated eggless cupcakes. I wasn’t surprised. He likes to defy everything and anything that I want him to do. I didn’t fight him on it. If he didn’t want it, fine. Of course an hour later he decided he wanted it and ate the whole thing.pa183389

The next morning I woke up feeling incredibly achy from my head to the tips of my toes. At first I thought I was just old then I realized that I was coming down with something. Once the stomach distress set in (I will spare you the details) I knew that I was in for a long, long day.

As I attempted to get T.Puzzle ready for his school photo he threw a fit because I removed his socks from the night before. Heaven forbid that his Mom put on clean socks for him. I sent him screaming to his room. What. Ever.

After T.Puzzle’s drop-off (don’t ask me how I got him to school because I don’t remember) I had to take Full Speed to the Children’s Clinic. Again. Granted we are lucky to have such awesome care. Even so, I was feeling less than upbeat about another trek downtown Jacksonville (you know achy, old body and all). If you ever need to reach me and I’m not home, try the Children’s Clinic, Third Floor, Ophthalmology.

I think my life is catching up to me. The stresses of Full Speed’s surgeries and aftercare, T.Puzzle’s unrelenting terrible twoness and the ever present twinge of missing my Mom have converged on me all at once. My whole body hurts. My whole spirit hurts.

I’m in need of some rest in a major way. Unfortunately, in my line of work I haven’t accrued any vacation time. I guess that’s okay because ultimately I love my job no matter how much I might grumble at its challenges. However, I’m fairly certain my house, my personal hygiene and my overall disposition are going to be less than pleasing in the days to come. I may even forgo clean socks. T.Puzzle is on to something with that one….

children, gratitude, mommyhood, potty training, self-discovery, terrible twos

Through the Day


Our good friends down the street had a birthday party for their three year old daughter. I had to go to this party without Mad Dog because of his work commitments (I know, that’s a shocker). I have to do stuff with the boys by myself all the time so that isn’t my issue. My issue is that at birthday parties, my children lose all ability to control themselves and wind up dangerously close to clinical insanity (or maybe it’s me).

I’m not sure if it’s the new setting, the almost tangible party excitement or the fancy cupcakes that set them off. We were there for three hours and I think I had one, five minute intelligent conversation with another adult in that time frame. The rest of the time I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off meeting the needs of my children, making sure that the other children were safe from them and making sure my friends’ home and their many possessions remained unharmed. It was exhausting.

T.Puzzle of course was defiant and spewed out a few screaming ‘no!’ tantrums. He also managed to lock his teeth on his brother’s hand as they fought over some toy. As I placed him in time-out he threw himself on the floor in kinetic desperation. By the time the party was over and I corralled my boys home I was drained and openly hostile with Mad Dog (who had arrived home a few short moments before we did). My hostility multiplied when Mad Dog questioned its existence. I’m sorry but three solid hours of stress will tend to make a Mom cranky.

This evening and all its stress melted away and brought us to our morning. T.Puzzle had a dry diaper after almost twelve hours of slumber! As soon as I realized this I raced to get him to the potty. As soon as I put him down he starts protesting in screaming wails. How on earth could anyone after TWELVE hours not immediately pee when placed on a toilet? I argue with him for a couple minutes. Then I take a figurative step back and realize I don’t really want to be locked in a power struggle over the potty. Our day would start off pissy if we did. So, I give up and leave the bathroom to pick out his clothes for the day. No sooner than my foot crosses that threshold, he pees. He was being stubborn. No way was he going to pee in front of Mommy. That would make her too happy. He wasn’t having any of that.

Despite its frustrating beginning our day goes pretty well. The weather has finally shifted. It’s not the normal thousand degrees with a million percent humidity. There is an actual chill in the air. Who knows how long it will last but it is delicious.

Part of my project for this fall-like day is to make eggless cupcakes for Full Speed’s mini-birthday celebration tomorrow. I go to the bother of driving to the not-so-convenient store to get the eggless mix because I want little brother T.Puzzle to feel included. Who knows if he will even actually eat them?

Once they are baked and cooled (they smell awesome by the way), I ask Full Speed to help me decorate them. I frost them in chocolate and give him the bottle of colored, candied sprinkles. In a flash he has it open and dumps almost the entire contents on one cupcake. I lose it. Mad Dog intervenes which makes me lose it more. I’m upset that Full Speed is wasteful for sure, but ultimately I’m upset because I told him to stop when he first started the dumpage and as soon as I turn my back, he continues to dump it all on one, defenseless cupcake.

The tension subsides after the cupcakes are more or less decorated and then I offer to read a chapter of ‘Inkheart’ to Full Speed out on the lanai. He is happy to do so. We snuggle under a fluffy red, blanket and pick up the story where we left off from yesterday.

Soon we have an unexpected visitor bust through the door and jump up on the chaise with us. T.Puzzle beams a smile at us and shouts, “I BACK!” Full Speed and I crack up. I say, “Well, T.Puzzle, we didn’t even know you had left,” and the laughter continues. Then the laughter takes a life of its own and we giggle and guffaw over funny faces and who knows what else.

Sometimes the pendulum of motherhood swings in your favor, sometimes it swings against you. Your job is to hang on and coast with its motion and when the laughter of the small moments finds you, embrace it with everything you have. Sometimes that’s all a Mom gets to get her through the day.