kids, mommyhood

Running Shoes

Has this ever happened to you? You choose a nice restaurant with a pleasant ambiance and good food (although incredibly slow service). You realize going in that it could take a long while to get your entrees but you push forward because it’s nice to do something different than pizza and burgers. Everything goes pretty smoothly all things considered and you think you are home free. Then, all of a sudden, your dinner companions (the young and demanding kind) decide that they are done. It matters not to them if the bill is yet to be paid. They are ready to vamoose.

So, you do the only logical thing. You grab them while your partner stays behind to field the check (thank you, Mad Dog) and you head outside with your little bundles of energy. And,… you run group sprints on the sidewalk.

Sometimes I still can’t believe my reality is an evening dinner that ends with wind sprints. But then again, if that’s the price of being these guys’ Mom, there’s no hesitation. Let me grab my running shoes.

kids, mommyhood, self-discovery

Life Balance

The boys had been home all day. This is a recipe for disaster. Mad Dog had wanted to watch his Steelers in the afternoon and I went to see a movie. When I returned home, swords were flying, T.Puzzle was crying in spurts and the energy level within our home had reached a dangerous level. Since the football game was winding down I suggested we take them to dinner.

We decide to take them to the recently opened Panera. The boys are wild once we are inside and I have to drag them to a booth so Mad Dog can order in peace. They are boisterously loud with their assorted cars and train engines. I try to shush them to no avail.

“Mom, it’s the CARS that are being loud, not US,” explains Full Speed.


The food comes and T.Puzzle decides he hates his food and his drink. He is shimmying up and down and all around the booth. I’m trying to breathe deeply to cope. All I really want to do is staple him to his seat and force him to eat his overpriced grilled cheese. Alas, no stapler is handy so,……deep breaths instead.

“Mom, I have a surprise for you when we get home,” says Full Speed.

“Is it a nanny?” I ask.

“No, it’s my soccer game,” he replies. I know that sounds adorable but the soccer game is one that he got in his stocking and he doesn’t like it. It frustrates him because he can’t master it. Therefore he is constantly “giving” it to me and his brother.

I had that moment in the booth where I wished my life was different. I wished my boys were calm and mild-mannered. I wished that I could eat a meal from start to finish without having to pay a babysitter or wait until nine o’clock at night to do so. I wished that my boys shared their thoughts and emotions in quiet tones and only cried because they were genuinely sad and not genuinely throwing a manipulative tantrum (such as the one T.Puzzle was currently presenting to me).

Those wishes are far off and possibly may never happen. All I have to survive on is the hope that someday I will find my equilibrium in motherhood and that the personal sacrifices I have made (and they are different for every Mom and every caretaker out there) are worth it. Keep reading and let’s hope that together we find that balance in all our lives….

children, happiness, parenting

For the Love of Trains

If you are doing what you are supposed to be doing in life your face should look like this…..

That is the joy T.Puzzle demonstrated at the Christmas-themed model train display. I mean for goodness sakes there was even a Thomas the Tank Engine train!!!

Fun was had by all as the boys scurried from one station to the next. They could press buttons and make different sections light up and move. That is until Full Speed thought it was his little brother trying to climb up on his chair (it wasn’t, it was a poor, unsuspecting boy we did not know). Full Speed shouts and brings his arm back and attempts to karate-chop off the boy’s head.

It was time to cut our losses and leave. Of course this turned little T.Puzzle’s joy into sadness.

However, all’s well that ends well with pizza.

children, happiness, kids, mommyhood

Ready or Not

It is Christmas vacation for all the kids in our neighborhood. We played with our friend, Miss Cutie, who is off for the holidays. Her Mom walked her over to our house with her baby sister in tow. Full Speed decided he was going to push Miss Cutie in our red car with the long blue handle. I gave him a laundry list of instructions on how he must handle the situation with care. No wheelies, no crazy zig-zag pushing and to keep the speed down. He did an excellent job. So much in fact that Miss Cutie’s Mom and I stopped paying attention and began cooing over the baby (she’s in the smiley phase which is irresistible). We both look up at the same moment to see Miss Cutie sailing by in the push car unaccompanied at a high rate of speed. Her Mom rushes over to stop her just as she bumps into the curb. Luckily she was not injured. We dissolved into laughter. The great thing about Miss Cutie’s mom was that she was a tomboy growing up. She relates to my boys in a way that moms of girls sometimes can’t. She rolls with the punches and is able to laugh with me (not at me) over their antics.

T.Puzzle eventually joins in the hub-bub after an almost three and half hour nap. This is just about the time Full Speed decides he wants to head back inside. He invites Miss Cutie to come in and play with us. He has a habit of inviting everyone into our house at all hours of the day. I appreciate his hospitality but sometimes I’d like a minute or two to pick up dirty socks or whatever else might be lying precariously about. Full Speed helps me clear up the cul-de-sac while T.Puzzle takes it upon himself to help Miss Cutie inside. Of course with his ‘help’ she lands in a pile on the floor (again, no injuries were sustained).

I love that my boys have a sensitive, chivalrous side. Just be careful if you see them in public. They may unleash their chivalry at you at all costs.

Ready or not.

gratitude, happiness, kids, parenting

Peace on Earth

We attended the Avondale Luminaria Celebration. It is a local community Christmas event. We have friends that live nearby and were able to get us parking as it is very crowded. Then we set out to explore the luminary lined streets on foot (simply beautiful). Essentially it is a festival of holiday lighted homes and vehicles that drive up and down the main drag with the passengers (some in Santa gear) tossing candy. There was a live nativity (little T.Puzzle couldn’t get over the baby calf) and of course another meeting with Santa. While waiting in line the boys almost reached their breaking point right as they were about to meet Santa. They were getting wrestly and antsy and almost knocked over some decorations. Luckily, as I could sense we were reaching the danger zone of behavior, it was their turn. They sat nicely on Santa’s lap and had a lengthy chat.

Full Speed made himself right at home with our friends insisting that he hold their hands as we paraded down the street. T.Puzzle followed suit as he has to do everything his older brother does. The boys shouted ‘Merry Christmas’ to all we saw and seemed to fully participate in the collective holiday cheer. It was a joy to watch.

My friend asked me a little about the boys and family. She commented that Mad Dog was an awfully quiet guy. I said he is mostly, however there are times he can surprise you. I could tell she didn’t believe me.

Full Speed had managed to claim her as his own personal companion for the evening and they begin darting among the crowd (at Full Speed’s insistent lead of course). At one point Full Speed and my friend got separated from the rest of us. Her husband, Mad Dog, T.Puzzle and myself stopped in our tracks hoping that soon we would be reunited.

We made the best of it while we waited. T.Puzzle and I watched the lighted cars go by and sang Christmas songs while Mad Dog watched the Steelers big comeback on his iPhone (so much for sacrificing football for family time; you will not be allowed to say that again, Mad Dog!). When the Steelers scored their down-to-the-wire winning touchdown, Mad Dog shouted so loud it startled me (and everyone in a five block radius). If only my friend had been there to hear that. Then she’d know Mad Dog’s not as quiet as one might think.

Turns out Full Speed and my friend had lost us in the crowd and decided to head back to where we had initially parked. No harm, no foul. On our drive home, two very tired but very happy boys were as quiet as mice. Apparently there can be peace on earth after all.