Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Night Time Woes

"Night fears in children"...that's what I just googled.

I'm currently "researching" how to combat night fears, fear of the dark, and how to get your child to sleep in her OWN DAMN ROOM. 

Bedtime is anxiety producing ... for both the children and the adults in this house.

One of our twins (we'll call her TWIN B) seems to have developed a fear of the dark, a fear of night, a fear of her window(?), a fear of  ...  ....   BEDTIME.

And it's killing us.  Literally.
If you could be killed by lack of sleep, my husband and I would both be close to death by now.
For real.

As if it isn't bad enough that our four month old still gets up two times a night to eat...
We are now dealing with a five year old who has a tendency to come into our room and ALSO wake us in the middle of the night.

The baby,  I can deal with... at least he sleeps through his feeding and goes right back to bed.

Not so much.

She wakes us up and asks to sleep in our bed(which we allow to avoid an argument... I know...shame on us.)..and then doesn't SLEEP in our bed.  She stays awake.  She cries. She refuses to go back to her own room. She's loud. She carries on.

And I hate to sound insensitive...but it's DRIVING US CRAZY!!!

Just the thought of bedtime makes me cringe. 
The leading up to bedtime is now getting all of us anxious because we know the song and dance routine that is going to go on.

The teeth are brushed, the books are read.... everyone is getting settled into their beds and my husband and I get "the look" from TWIN B.  The look that says...

"I'm about to flip my lid because I don't want to go to sleep."

She shares a room with her sister.  You would think that would be comfort enough.  But it's not.
When the fears first started, we told her she could sleep with the light on.
But now?  Her twin, TWIN A, can't sleep with the light on. 

The poor thing gets up in the morning with bags under her eyes... looking like she hasn't slept a wink.  

So we battle every night...does the light stay on? Does it go off?
Do we dim the light? Is it too dim? Is it not dim enough?
We have enough night lights in the room to light a freaking runway...but that doesn't seem to be enough.

We've suggested separating the twins - putting one in a room as bright as day and one with the darkness she requires...and that goes over like a ton of bricks.
They cry.
They don't want to be separated.  
It's so bad that when TWIN B gets up in the night to sleep with us... TWIN A wakes up, sees her sister is gone, comes looking for her and then wants to sleep with us too!

Cue the circus music!  

We've talked. We've asked TWIN B to explain what she is afraid of.
And she can't.
 She doesn't know what she is afraid of exactly. 
We've learned that she thinks someone might climb in her window.... so we've tried to calm that fear by allowing HER to set the house alarm at night.

That's not helping either.  Especially since the other night, we didn't set it and she woke us up at 2am to ask of if the alarm had been set!

As a mother, I'm torn between wondering if she really IS afraid of something and wanting to soothe away her fears... and thinking maybe she is just being the dramatic child she has a tendency to be...always wanting to be center stage...always needing more attention than the others. 

I've started researching and from what I've read, I'm beginning to feel like a failure in my responses to her. 
At first I was reassuring and calm and understanding.

But as the nights go on and the struggles continue...
I'm less calm(read that as frustrated and pissed off), less reassuring, and more
"suck it up and GO TO BED".

My husband and I are both ridiculously tired and becoming extremely resentful of this little person who is making bedtime and nighttime in general... a NIGHTMARE(no pun intended)

So now what? 

The research doesn't give you the,
"So if all of these suggestions DON'T work...try, X, Y and Z"
They don't have alternate suggestions.... like shock therapy  (I'm really just kidding)

But part of me really thinks that these people who write these articles have never had a child with night fears or had a child AT ALL.
Because if they had, I don't think they'd even try to give you a "how to" instruction manual.
Because there is no right or wrong...and sometimes... NOTHING works.

Sometimes you end up not getting any end up with a kid or two in your bed... you end up raising your voice... making idle threats and empty promises.... and that's ok too because we're all only human...and we're TIRED humans.

So tonight?
Tonight, I'll try and keep my cool... I'll go in to her room at bedtime armed with loads of sensitivity, patience and a can of Bad Guy Spray(my dental hygienist told me about "spray" to keep the bad guys away)

I'm sure I have a round of musical beds to look forward to at 3am....and all I can say is...this too shall pass.
I just hope it passes soon. 

Peace, Love & RIGHT NOW

Thursday, January 24, 2013

An Orange Headband?

When I was about 8 months pregnant this summer, I signed up to do a Tough Mudder for this coming May.

I think I was caught up in the whole, "I'm going to get in great shape and get my body back...and I'd like to see my feet again..." idea of it.

Seemed like it would be a good motivator to get myself cracking again.
Not to mention that it falls on my husband's birthday weekend... and it would be "fun" (yeah, right) to do it together. 

Right.  Here I am... TOTALLY second guessing my decision.

The Tough Mudder peeps sent out an email last week I guess trying to pump up the registered "mudders"(That's what we'll call them).  Really, all it did was scare me.

I'm NOT pumped.
I'm terrified.

Apparently they have all new obstacles.

Woohoo! Awesome! Can't wait!
Is this some sort of joke?

So now... What?
Instead of pools of ice water under monkey bars and tunnels of muddy ice water and electrocution(!!!!!!!), they'll have pits with tigers in them?  Seriously. I'd like to know how they plan on taking it to the next level after electrocution?!?

I'm concerned.
I was concerned BEFORE the email.... Now I'm REALLY concerned.

I can run.  The running is not the issue here. 

It's the monkey bars. AND the electrocution, but that really goes without saying here.

Monkey bars and I do NOT mix.

Ever see someone do one of those Tarzan rope swings over water?  Looks easy, right?

They had one of those rope swings on a Hawaii vacation my family went on when I was in college.
My younger brother grabbed the rope, swung out over the water, did a back flip and dropped in.
So I thought, "How hard can this be??"
I grabbed the rope, lasted 1.5 seconds(that's being generous), gave out a helpless yelp and dropped like a ton of bricks into the water. 

So supporting my own body weight? That ain't my thang.
You know what else ain't my thang?  Being cold. And wet. And cold AND wet together.
And the whole electrocution thing?
SERIOUSLY?!?! Why am I doing this again?

So, say you survive the cold water, the monkey bars, the electrocution AND the tiger pits...

**note: I don't really think there will be tiger pits. Pretty sure that's illegal.

You know what you get at the end?

You get electrocuted and they give you a headband.

At least after running a marathon you get a medal.

Maybe I should create my own event and call it,

And my obstacles would be things that only a mother could do.

Things like....
Getting a baby out of a poop covered one-sie without getting any poop on the baby's face or hair.


Bringing a handful of kids into a rest stop bathroom ...all in one stall and have them NOT. TOUCH. ANYTHING.

I would call another obstacle, "DINNER TIME".
You'd have to wear a baby in a Bjorn, while cooking dinner, helping with homework AND bathing children. All with a smile on your face :)

At the end of all of the obstacles all the mothers would get a bottle of wine and an hour of complete silence.  TOTALLY worth it.

Ahh well, I'll suck it up and do the Tough Mudder in May and probably enjoy it! (doubtful)

I'm sure I'll laugh my way through it (and maybe cry some too! ELECTROCUTION?!? hello!?!)

I've made my husband promise not to yell at me as he's dragging me over a muddy wall or through a muddy tunnel and I'm laughing my butt off with no strength to help myself. 
When I laugh, I seem to lose all strength I have whatsoever. 

And in the end... I'll be so proud... and muddy... cold...and wet.... with a stupid grin...wearing my ORANGE HEADBAND!!

Peace, Love and RIGHT NOW

Monday, January 21, 2013

Small Town

I grew up in a small town.
Like, 3 square miles small.

There were less than 400 students in the high school...
70 students in my class.  

You didn't take the bus to school... you either walked or your mom drove you.

You knew everyone in your class and everyone in the classes above you and below you too.
You knew your classmates' siblings, parents, and probably their grandparents too.

Some of your teachers had your parents as students and your aunts and uncles too.

You knew your classmates by the shoes they wore, the cars they drove, their taste in music...
If you had a boyfriend or girlfriend chances are, a few of your friends also dated that same person at one time or another.

There wasn't much to do in town... at least from a kid's perspective.
We hung around at the town diner.
It wasn't a weekend unless you stopped there at least once.

My grandmother used to frequent the diner. She sat at the counter, reading her book and smoking her cigarettes(back when you could still smoke in the diner)
I can't tell you the number of times I had friends come up to me and tell me they saw my "Gram" at the diner... and she gave them money to pay for their cheese fries.

That's the kind of town I grew up in.

It was BORING.  Nothing even remotely exciting EVER happened there. 
And now, as a parent, I do believe that's exactly why my parents chose to raise us there.

It's a safe town, a quiet town, a NICE town.

And after high school... I couldn't get out fast enough.
I wanted a big college, I wanted new people and new experiences.
I wanted to go somewhere where no one knew me.  

I couldn't appreciate what a small town had given me... the people, the comfort, the love.

Actually, it was only a couple of years ago that I came to understand the beauty of growing up in a small town.
Two years ago this past October, I lost my 25 year old brother to cancer.
My family was devastated by his loss.

However, we were truly humbled and amazed by how our small town held us so close in our time of sorrow.

Families making meals and dropping them off to my family... we had food to feed our family AND a small army for weeks.
The letters and cards and phone calls... the stories that our small town friends shared uplifted our spirits and put band aids on our broken hearts....
There was a moment of silence held in my brother's honor at the high school football game the Saturday following his death... The high school soccer team wore his initials on wrist bands at their game.

Heartbreaking and yet so heartwarming all at once.

My brother's wake and funeral were like a town reunion,.... old friends, friends of friends, teachers, coaches, people I hadn't seen in years... all came out to support my family.
Our small town came through for us and helped us during the toughest time of our lives.

And now I've seen my small town come through again...

Just last week, a family from town received the devastating news that their four year old little girl has an inoperable brain tumor.

This little girl needs a miracle. This family needs prayers and strength and love.
And the outpouring that I'VE seen has been tremendous.

I've seen posts about this little girl's story posted by nearly all of my small town Facebook friends... spreading her story... asking for positive thoughts and prayers to help heal this sweet girl.

So if what I'VE seen is tremendous... I can only imagine what the family is feeling and seeing...the support they are receiving...the small town love.

I'm sure they are, as I was two years ago, ... overwhelmed and truly humbled.

This is what my small town does.

That said,  the small town girl in me is sharing the story of Brooke, a little girl who can use all the love, prayers, positive energy we have....

Brooke's Story

So to whomever this story reaches... Whatever you've got, send it her way.  And pass it on....Share her story.  Please.

Peace, Love and RIGHT NOW

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Worth a second look...

I recently read a quote on Pinterest that I absolutely loved and I can't seem to get out of my head....
"Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward.  Your life will never be the same again."  
I was reminded of a post that I had "guest posted" in a friend's blog last year... and I figured it was worth a second post here.  Why not? 
Food for thought...
Towards the end of my brother Charles' battle with cancer, I spent a lot of time taking the train from Connecticut to New York – walking from Grand Central Station to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – I had a lot of time alone with my thoughts.   I was angry. I was sad.  
I was devastated.
I tried to make sense of what was happening.  I was confused and I wanted answers.  WHY WAS THIS HAPPENING?
On the last night I saw Charles before he passed, I took a cab from the hospital back to the train station and then the train back home to Connecticut.  It was late – but of course, the city was still hopping. People were out everywhere.  
As I sat in the back of the cab and watched people going by I began thinking about THEIR lives.  I had no idea what their lives were like – just as they had no idea about mine.   
Were they sad? Were they feeling lonely? Was someone sick in their family? Were THEY sick themselves?   I didn’t know.
And I thought if they looked at me, would they know that I had just said goodbye to my dying brother for the last time?  
No, certainly not. 
And in that little moment…. I realized everyone, EVERYONE has a struggle.  EVERYONE you meet is dealing with something that is bigger than they are…. an illness, a sick child, a job loss.  
It was truly an “a-HA” moment for me.      And I thought, If everyone could go through life remembering that, wouldn’t this world be a kinder, gentler place?    If I went through my life with a little twist on how I thought about things….
“That guy who just cut me off at the traffic light…. Maybe he’s going to visit his sick mother in the hospital.”  or…. “That woman who didn’t say thank you when I held the door for her…. Maybe her dog just died.”  Wouldn’t that put a different spin on things?  Wouldn’t I be more tolerant? Less angry? More accepting and kind? 
In the days leading up to Charles’ death and in the time since he has passed - I’ve seen a lot of good.  A LOT of good.   I have seen acts of kindness that have truly humbled me.  And I’ve had to reassess who I am as a person….what I’m teaching my own children…and what my purpose is in this life.  
And while I am still completely devastated by my brother’s death and by the loss I feel with him no longer here, I have to think on the positive end that I’ve gained something as well… a new perspective, a new way of thinking.
If I’m having a bad day, maybe the person behind me in line at the grocery store is having a WORSE day.  Sometimes it takes a little bit of stepping outside of yourself, seeing past your own problems and knowing that sometimes, someone has it a little bit worse.   In taking that step, you start to see…. Maybe my problem isn’t so bad. 
I’ve had a lot of time to think about this…and no, I don’t have the answers as to why my brother got cancer and why he died at the age of twenty five.  
But I’d like to think that I learned something through his ordeal.  I’d like to think that I took away a “big picture” idea and that I’ll be a better person having seen what he went through.  
Maybe adjusting the way I think and seeing the bigger picture IS the good that has come. Maybe passing it on and paying it forward is how I am going to turn this bad thing into something good.  
Because I KNOW I’m not going to be the one curing cancer, but maybe the little things I do, the kindness I show, the lessons I teach my children – that we’re all only human and we’re all in this life together… Maybe all those little things will add up to something great. 
Peace Love and RIGHT NOW

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Is it a twin thing?

"Yes, they are twins." "Yes, they are identical."
"No, I did not have fertility help" (and that's really none of your business anyway)
"Yes, twins run in my family."

Those are the answers to just a handful of questions I get when I go out with my girls.

Having twins opens a door to a whole new world of weirdness and strange questions from random strangers who think MY children are THEIR business.

And it really IS a whole world of weirdness.... identical twins, that is.
The things my husband and I witness and watch and have experienced these past five years with them is all together unique.

First, when people see you with twins, they think they're allowed to ask you all kinds of strange things.
Second, they don't care what you're in the middle of doing... they'll stop to question you anyway.

And these are really questions they'd never ask you if you had just one baby or one child with you. 
Twins is a whole different sack of potatoes!

Stranger: "Did you nurse them?" 
Me:  "Excuse me?!"

Stranger: "Did you have a vaginal birth?" 
Me: "I'm sorry, did you just say vagina to me?"

And then there are the people who need to tell all about THEIR twin experiences, as if I need to hear all about their niece, nephew, daughter, grandson, etc.... It's bizarre.

The first year of the twins' life was a total blur. The sleep deprivation was unlike anything I've ever experienced. Don't remember much at all.  I DO remember the pediatrician telling me at their 2 week appointment that I needed to refer to them by name.  I could hardly remember my OWN excuse me if I referred to my babies as THIS one and THAT one. 
Promptly changed pediatricians after THAT appointment.

I took tons of pictures of the girls as babies and fact I still take tons of pictures..., but things like... what their first word was and who walked first?.. I have no idea.
So I've told them they both said "Da-Da" at the same time on the same day...and they both walked on the same day(which is probably fairly accurate, although I was half asleep through it, so I don't really know) I knew I should've listened to my mother and wrote some of this stuff down! Damn it!

As toddlers, I didn't have to worry about one of them running off in one direction and one in the I had initially assumed would happen.  They were always, ALWAYS together. 
If they cried, they cried together. If they laughed, they both laughed.   Tantrums? You bet... together.

I have a not so fond memory of carrying two tantrum-ing twins like footballs through the Walmart parking lot in a full sweat...with a two year old scrambling behind me to keep up. Yeah, that was fun.

And if they got into mischief?... it was definitely side by side. 
They worked together to accomplish their goals... Like taking a Costco sized bottle of dish soap(that weighed more than they did) out of the hall closet and jumping on it...spraying liquid soap all over my hardwood floors. 
Ever tried to clean up soap? Right.

Or dumping an entire bag of cat food into the cat's food bowl as well as all over the laundry room floor. Awesome.

Luckily they grew out of the mischief making stage...and as with any child - just when you get one thing down pat, everything changes and you have to learn something new all over again. 

The girls are now in separate Kindergarten classes with separate homework and separate friends.  So some of their friends don't even know they have a twin. One will get invited to a birthday party and the other will not.  It's a challenge, not a big one, but one we never even THOUGHT about when they were infants and toddlers.

And as they've gotten older.. we've watched their relationship develop into what I like to call....
"An old married couple"   There is a giver and a taker.  One would give you the shirt off her back and the other would happily accept it.  And that's how they co-exist.

They are best friends. And worst enemies too.
They know each other's quirks and what buttons to basically, they know how to piss each other off.  BIG TIME.
They bicker. A lot.

But they also laugh a lot and love each other a lot.

While I've had to teach my oldest daughter empathy and compassion(this doesn't seem to be an inborn thing in I've seen her step over an injured and crying sibling to ask me for help with her homework) ...
My twins have had it since birth.  They're compassionate and caring because they've always had that other person to be compassionate and caring towards and about.  It's a true blessing.

I often watch my girls interact with other kids and wonder if they think they're any different from anyone else.   I wonder if they notice that people CONSTANTLY ask them,
"Which one are you?" or call them by the wrong name. 
Is it annoying? Or just a way of life for them?
When they were little-little, I would ask them if they thought they looked the same and they would respond, "Yes, because we have the same match heads."

Now if you ask them if they look the same, they shake their heads, "No"
...and yet, if you take a picture of one with your phone and turn the phone to show it to her...she'll insist that it is NOT her, that it's her sister.  So funny!

And they DO share that "twin connection".  I've heard the conversations they have where as an outsider, I can barely understand what's being talked about...and yet both of them are fully comprehending the entire exchange. 

The other day one twin asked the other,
"What is that word where you're the same thing and people can't see you?" 
I sat there thinking... "Um. What?! I have no idea what you're even asking"  
And her twin responded, "Oh. Camouflage."   Just like that.  What?! How?!?

And playing charades with them? Forget it.
One will act out something that would leave even the best charades players stumped and the twin will guess it within seconds!  It's bizarre and amazing all at the same time.

The love they have for each other..... it IS something to see, though. It's more than just a sibling love. It's a twin love.
I checked in on them the other night before I went to bed.... there was one twin bed empty. The other bed held both of the girls... both of their pillows... the two of them snuggled together sleeping soundly. 

As I closed the door to their room, I thought... "How lucky are they to have each other?"
But really...How lucky am I to have THEM?
I get to experience the twin thing through them...and as challenging as it sometimes is...with all the growing pains we have now and will continue to experience.... I really wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

Peace, Love and RIGHT NOW

Friday, January 11, 2013

Post Holiday Blues

So... after the holidays came and went in a flash, I was left with a seriously crappy feeling... like the post holiday blues or something.

I actually just googled,  "Post Holiday Blues"
And it's a real thing!!! I had no idea! I thought it was just me!

Anyway, I felt such a sense of letdown after it was all over, I could hardly see straight. 

For weeks, I busted my butt cooking, baking, shopping, wrapping, decorating... and for it to all be over in a flash and everything put away and done.... Holy.  What a disappointment!

Anyway, I just read this article about ways to combat the Post Holiday Blues... here are a few of the suggestions

1. Rescue an animal.    Seriously? I have four kids, a cat and a frog... I don't need an animal, rescued or not.  I'm trying to cure my blues... not put myself into a nut house.

2. Declutter. Well, I do this on a daily basis. Please see my post about hoarding.

3. Volunteer.  Maybe in a few years when my kids are older. Right now, I need my own volunteer to help me keep the chaos at my house to a minimum.

4. Give.  Didn't I just spend the past month giving? I gave until it hurt. I can't give no' mo'

Anyway... the list goes on... you get the idea.

I did NOT do any of the above.
What did I do?

I shopped.

I went online and bought Christmas stuff.
A lot of what I ordered came today. 
And now that I'm past the post holiday depression... my purchases seem a little, well...ridiculous.

I bought Christmas decorations for the house.... a Santa Claus, a cute little Christmas tree.... a snow man, a snowman nesting family(what?!?) Christmas crafts for my girls for NEXT year....

But that's not all. I didn't just shop online.

I bought a fake 6 1/2 foot Christmas tree at Walmart on Clearance.

I bought a pair of pajamas and Christmas socks.
I bought Christmas wrapping paper, Christmas gift tags, ornaments, two blow up things for our yard(Seriously???)

I also purchased my girls' Christmas dresses from Crazy 8 for next year.

And just the other night I almost spent over $100 for matching pajamas for our whole family for next year!!!

What. Is. Wrong. With. ME?!?!?!?

My husband had to talk me down from the pajama purchase.

Now, I can blame these purchases on the Post Holiday Blues and be done with it...or I can admit to my weaknesses.
1. I love online shopping
2. I love clearance

Online shopping...what is better than ordering something from the comfort of your own couch and having it delivered to your front door? Nothing beats that feeling of getting a package in the mail! And the coupons online? I mean, they might as well pay ME to buy the stuff!  20% off my entire purchase plus free shipping? Yes, please!

Clearance... Seriously... 25 cent rolls of wrapping paper? That's unheard of. It's absurd!
So yes, I bought like 10 rolls. Of course I did.  It's not like it's not going to get used.

And that 6 1/2 foot tree? It was originally 40 bucks! I got it for $10!

I actually buy a lot of my kids clothes on clearance for the next year....
I know that's ridiculous, but I do it.
Why spend $15 for a shirt when I can get it on clearance at the end of the season for $2 for NEXT year.

So combine my love of online shopping, love of clearance and Post Holiday Blues and you've got the perfect storm.
December 26th, someone should just confiscate my credit cards... but really?
It's not like I'm spending all that much - IT'S CLEARANCE!!!!

My husband thinks I have lost my mind... and I may very well have.

But at least I'm over the blues.

And now we have enough Christmas wrapping paper to wrap gifts for the whole neighborhood next year.... and a 6 1/2 foot fake Christmas tree! 

The blow up things for the yard?
The kids are psyched, but hubby has his limits.... those may have to get blown up in the backyard.

Peace, Love, and RIGHT NOW

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Dinner Table

So it really only took until our twins were 4 years old for all five of us to be able to sit at the dinner table and actually eat dinner together.

Prior to that, I'd feed the kids separately/early and my husband and I would eat dinner(sitting down!) after everyone was in bed.   Dinner was chaotic enough feeding the three girls without the two of us trying to eat at the same time!

Not gonna lie...eating dinner together, alone... just me and the hubby... at the table or in front of the TV was pretty amazing. It was the best part of my day! No kids... just us and silence or even Wheel of Fortune if we wanted :)

Now we've gotten to the point where we all sit together(all six of us) and have dinner at the same time and resemble a somewhat normal family(yeah, right)!

Dinner table time at our house is anything but ordinary.

It's hilarious.
It's loud.
It's informative.
It's chaotic.
It's not relaxing OR peaceful.

It's kind of like a variety show.

We hear knock-knock jokes that make no sense.... We see the latest tricks and dance moves that were learned on the school playground. We learn about the kids that were misbehaving in class and on the bus.  We are sung songs and sometimes even sung songs in Spanish!

It's kind of like a box of chocolates at dinner time, you never know what you'll get.

Not everyone is well behaved at the table.... on the contrary. Dinner time is when most of our "time outs" happen. 

Almost every night someone gets sent away(or dragged away sometimes) from the table for one reason or another. 

And although my husband and I stress manners at the table.... sitting nicely, using a napkin instead of a shirt, chewing with your mouth closed, no talking with your mouth full... we still get the every night offenders.

We have even had to make a "no tooting at the table" rule.  Kind of thought that went without saying, but alas....Fart DOES= funny and most ESPECIALLY at the dinner table.

Try disciplining a child that's tooted at the table while trying to keep a straight face and hold in your laughter. Near impossible.

Every night we try to go around the table sharing our favorite and least favorite parts of our day.
There is always an argument over who will share their favorite part first....and then another argument over which direction around the table the sharing will go. 
Favorite parts of the day are often,
"When I scored a goal in gym" or "When I sat next to my best friend at lunch" 

Of course, the LEAST favorite part is always lost on the twins.... who seem to think that least favorite is comparable to SECOND favorite.
So they always say something like, "My least favorite part of my day ....was seeing Mommy when we got off the bus"
To which my oldest always rolls her eyes and tries to explain that LEAST favorite means something you didn't like... which in most cases, leads to an argument... and then someone crying.

Throughout it all, my husband and I will look at each other across the dinner table... and say something like, "How did this happen? Do these people belong to us?  When did high kicks at the dinner table and rounds of the 12 days of Christmas become the norm??" 

And sometimes we'll go so far as to reminisce about the days of going out to dinner just the two of us... with a bottle of wine(or 2) and going home to a quiet and NEAT condo and sleeping in on Saturday.... ahhhhhh

But you know what? I wouldn't trade our "norm" for anything in the world. 

MY favorite part of the day is always sitting at the dinner table with my family... the chaos, the toots and the songs and laughter..... all of it.

Peace, Love & RIGHT NOW

Monday, January 7, 2013

Four kids, a stranger and a flu shot....

So.... I waited until the last minute to get my flu shot.
Dummy. I know.

Everyone has been freaking me out about the flu and the baby getting sick.  The girls all had their shots back in October, but me? Nah... not me. Who has time for stuff like that???

Soooo...I went out with the baby this afternoon while the girls were at school...took a break from work to go get my flu shot at Walgreens.

I hit up the closest Walgreens, hauled my big guy in his carrier out of the van and walked in(if you are a mom with a large baby, you know what a hassle this is) It's like a workout.

Got into Walgreens... "Sorry Ma'am, no flu shots left"
Not sure what I was more annoyed at... Hauling the kid out of the car to be told there weren't anymore flu shots left, or that the guy behind the counter called me "ma'am".

Went home to get the girls off the bus...

Piled them into the car... headed out to another Walgreens.
This time I was smart enough to call in advance to see if they had any flu shots left.
I'm in shock that I have to call ahead for a flu shot.  A run on flu shots? I don't get it.

So according to the woman on the phone, they had a few flu shots left.  Great. So now I'm stressed...what could be worse than getting all four kids into the car, driving to Walgreens, getting them out of the car only to find out they had no more flu shots????

So in the car I go with my four kids and high tail it to the next closest Walgreens for my flu shot.

This is about as fun as taking the three girls to get THEIR flu shots. Only that was probably slightly less fun.
Got to Walgreens... there's a line.

Waited in line... with three little girls(who are annoyed that I've inconvenienced their after school schedule) and one crying large baby in his carrier.  Oh and me...sweating.

so apparently, I was getting the last flu shot they had. ... but there was a twenty minute wait. Awesome.
A twenty minute wait with all the other last minute idiots waiting for their flu shots or the already sick idiots waiting for their medicines. Even MORE awesome.

So here's me... now STRUGGLING swinging a large crying baby in his carrier, trying to fill out a form from the pharmacy while also reminding my girls, "Move out of the way...people are trying to get through" because it's freaking crowded.  So fun. 

Clearly, I'm a little distressed, plainly frazzled and not at all up for chit-chat. 

Enter...weird stranger

Stranger: "I have to ask you... is that your boy?" Trying to get too close to my baby. And grinning like a fool.
Me: "Yup"(giving her a "please don't talk to me face")
Stranger: "You're just like me.... Except I had five boys and then a girl(insert stupid laugh here)"
Me: (Silence) and a pained half smile.
Stranger: Walks away but I could tell she wanted to talk more.

Really, lady? What about my situation right now says I'm up for talking? Do I look cheerful and capable of small talk right now?  And really? Because you had five boys and then a girl does NOT make us twins or anything.   I'm sweating. And standing in line at Walgreens filling out some lame form with four kids of them now screaming.  

At the end of it all... I DID end up getting the last flu shot... while holding a crying baby and with three girls watching just waiting for me to scream in pain(which I did not.... TAKE THAT, GIRLS!)
Got back into the car and the oldest informs me, "That was not fun AT ALL"
I could've sworn I was having a blast


Peace, Love and RIGHT NOW

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Wait... we have to teach them EVERYTHING?

Still trying to figure out this blog stuff... since I'm new to the blogging world. Like... how to make my blog pretty, etc. etc.  It's a work in progress and I'm sure as time goes by, I'll figure it allllll out.

Love that expression. A girl I work "with"(with is in quotes because I work from home and so does she... we're on the same team and work together, but not TOGETHER)
Anyway, a girl I work with uses that expression...she's from the Midwest and sounds just like Mrs. Poole from the Hogan family when she says it.

I digress....

Just the other day I was discussing with my mom.... the fact that when kids are born, they are literally a blank slate.
And when you think about that... it's... well, SCARY.

Hello?!?  We have to teach them everything!!!

Well, obviously there are things that come naturally to them...crying, sleeping, pooping, eating...
But the rest of the stuff... that's all on us! Parents!

And what's even scarier is that if we don't TEACH it... they'll learn it from watching us... observing us... like monkeys. And I mean the good and the bad stuff.

In fact, I remember one very specific example -
My oldest daughter was probably about 18 months old. 
My husband and I brought her to the park one afternoon....
She was up on the playscape (when did they start calling them playscapes, by the way? When I was little..they were jungle gyms... maybe it's a Connecticut thing? I dunno).  

Anyway, this PLAYSCAPE had a steering wheel.
She was steering.
My husband and I watched from pleased with the little being that we had created.
I think we may have even looked at each other and said, 'Oh, isn't she so cute?"

That's when she threw her hands up in the air off the steering wheel and shouted,

"COME ON!!!"

Imagine me shrinking into my jacket and hanging my head in shame.  

SOOO? I have a little road rage. SO WHAT?!?

Clearly, she learned it from me.

Reminds me of that 80's commercial about drugs...
"From you, alright? I learned it by watching you!"(see link below for the commercial. I crack up every time I watch it)


Yep. Soooo she learned it from me without my even knowing it.

So that brings me back to my original point...there are things you have to teach that you wouldn't even ever think of...

Here are a few that I've learned you actually have to teach....

1. The five second rule doesn't apply to gum.  I learned this one at a Halloween Carnival at the school when one of my little's who was new to gum chewing told me (After the fact), "Mommy, I dropped my gum on the floor, but it's ok, I picked it up and put it back in my mouth"   Awesome.

2. Your inside voice is even still too loud in a public bathroom and/or dressing room. Talking about what my underwear looks like or asking why my stomach has wrinkled skin is not ok.

3. Don't touch other people's eyeballs. This should be one of those just born knowing things...I thought it would've been.  Guess it's not.

4. Ignoring people when they talk to you is not polite.  What is THAT all about? My girls were(are?) the queens of that.  If they don't want to talk to someone...and I'm referring to pretty much any adult they aren't comfortable with,.... they look the other way and pretend not to hear them.
Imagine if we all could do that?  Sorry... don't feel like responding... just gonna look the other way and pretend you're not there. 
I've had to remind my girls time and time again about how rude that is and that I expect them to answer. 

5. HOLD THE DOOR FOR THE PEOPLE BEHIND YOU.  Before I realized I had to teach my girls this lesson in politeness.... I watched my oldest let the door slam in someone's face.  I had no idea that SHE had no idea that she should hold the door.  So I literally had to give her a lesson on door holding right then and there.

6. It is polite to say, "Bless you" when someone sneezes. I thought maybe this one would've been just picked up after hearing so many people do it, but nope. It wasn't. I got really annoyed one day when I had a sneezing fit and not one of my kids blessed me afterwards.
I mean, I guess it's not that big of a deal...but really. Silence?

I just sneezed 40 times and managed to continue to drive the car...
and you've got NOTHING to say to me? Sheesh!~

So while I'm sitting here typing this I'm thinking... how many people DON'T teach their kids these things?  Ok...the inside voice in the bathroom? That's more embarrassing than anything else, but how about manners? 
How many kids have you had to your house that don't have manners? You give them a snack and you're waiting for those "magic words" and the kid barely acknowledges you.  What is THAT all about?!?

Maybe their parents are still waiting for a memo...or a public service announcement.

"Pssst. Parents, in case you were wondering... you have to TEACH your kid these things.... they don't just come up with exceptional manners on their own."

You know what else you have to teach?... kindness and empathy. I can't even go there today....

That's a whole other story for a whole other post.

Off to spend the Saturday with my kids... otherwise known as, keep them all from killing one another.

Peace, Love, and RIGHT NOW.

Friday, January 4, 2013


Ok, it needs to be said -

My kids are hoarders.

I am not.

Hoarders and non-hoarders have a hard time living together. Trust me.

One of my girls is more of a hoarder than the other two.
She has things hidden away in the far corners of the bedroom she shares with her twin...
She keeps bags, and boxes and stickers and papers, and beads... you name it, she saves it.

And quite honestly, I guess I don't blame her.

I am not a hoarder... I'm a purger. Is that even a word?
I purge. I throw things away as soon as they come into the house. 

So maybe she sees me as a threat to her "collection"... as fast as I throw things away, she is scooping them up and hiding them with her treasures in her room.

When she isn't looking I sometimes go in and go through her stuff and try to expel some of the stuff that I think she won't miss.  I'm not saying I throw away toys and beloved items... but the little garbage-y stuff... glow sticks that no longer glow, a broken shell, a scrap piece of paper a little friend scribbled on and gave to her at school, a metal ring with a fake gem that has probably turned her finger green....

I find these items ridiculously annoying.  Ever step on one of those rings when it's left on your living room floor? I HAVE. And I've thought... "Do I need a tetanus shot now??? It punctured the skin! Good Lord!"

I think that as parents we need to take a stand - a united front against a few things.
Almost form a Mother's Against Hoarding group, or something...

1. Birthday party goodie bags... or as I like to call it... CRAP
please please please do us all a favor and stop sending that stupid gum ball machine garbage home in a bag with my kids. Plastic rings, bracelets, spinning tops, those annoying lips that make that whizzing whistling sound(are you trying to kill me?) tongue tattoos?(I can't think of anything more disgusting)  They hoard it. I throw it out.  I almost want to pay them for their junk.
"I'll give you a dollar if you turn over that entire bag right now.... PLEASE"

2. Stuff from school.  Don't get me wrong. I love the homemade gifts, I really do!  But when they're bringing home drawings and computer printouts and a picture that I don't even know what it is with feathers and glitter glued to it?  Please don't send it home.  Glitter? Feathers? I'll be vacuuming that stuff up for weeks!
Those items are the things I have to hide IN the garbage to get rid of.   I throw things in empty cereal boxes and then into the garbage to avoid the, "Now how did THIS get in here??!? Mommy, did you throw this away???"   Because then I have to lie...."What?!? No! I would never! It must've stuck to something I was throwing away"   
I know. I'm terrible.

3. Doctor's office stickers and "treasure chest" items.  the last thing we need is another sticker. Seriously.  I have sheets and sheets of stickers in a folder labeled, "stickers"   My kids get these stickers after their appointments and don't even put them on! They don't wear them! They hold them in the back of the car and either leave them there to be found under a seat in the sticker graveyard when my husband vacuums the car out... or they get brought into the house and put into the hoarding pile. 
And please don't give out more treasure chest items.... I don't need another braided bracelet or sticky man who crawls down the window when you throw him on there. Really, I don't.  

Want to give my kids a reward? Tell them that they did such a good job that you're going to go call Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny and put in a good word.  That'll make their day! For real!

Maybe I've watched too many episodes of hoarders and now I'm like terrified of being overtaken by stuff.... Half eaten cheeseburgers and mouse poop everywhere.... climbing over piles of garbage to get out the front door.... Ugh, I need a shower just thinking of it.

I just hope my constant throwing away isn't having an adverse effect on my kids.... I can see them on a therapists couch now..."She never let us keep anything and now I save EVERYTHING! I have underwear from the 3rd grade sitting in a box somewhere in the attic with my old Zhu Zhu pet(I hate those things, by the way)!"  

Ugh!  Off to throw some stuff out while my kids are at school. 

Peace, Love and RIGHT NOW.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy 2013

2013... a new year and a new outlook on life.

I don't know what happened to 2012. I think I say that every year.  Just like every year on my birthday I think to myself.... What happened to 17? Didn't I just get my driver's license?

2012.... a year full of STUFF.
New kitchen at the Dwyer house.
New addition, both master suite and new baby boy.
New job for hubby(after a stressful layoff during the master suite addition and prior to new baby addition. YIKES.)
And the regular stuff too.... soccer games, dance lessons, Sunday school, swim lessons, vacation, work, juggling, juggling, and more juggling.

And as I'm sure with most families... now that the year is over, I'm looking back and thinking to myself... WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED?

The year went by so fast, it scares me.

Did I make the most of it?
Do I even REMEMBER it?

I don't really know....

The holidays came and went in a flash....and I look back and did I even enjoy myself Did I enjoy my kids??
Not really. I spent so much time shuffling the family back and forth to visit other people/families and make sure that THEY were happy...but I didn't spend time thinking...
"What is going to make US happy?"  

All I wanted was to sit with my husband and kids... look at our cute Christmas tree.... listen to Christmas music, play a board game or two, make cookies and watch Christmas movies.... instead, we drove to New Jersey and crammed in way too much the weekend before Christmas, came back home and it was over and done with before we even knew it. 

I was overwhelmed and unimpressed and I felt like the true meaning and spirit of Christmas was totally lost. 
And if I felt that way... how did my kids feel? 
I know as I look around my house.... there are still gifts from relatives and friends(from our various visits to other people's houses) that remain unopened(sorry, folks!)
And I'm thinking.... if it wasn't the toys and books and games they wanted or NEEDED, what was it?

It was my time.  OUR time.  Family time.   That was what they wanted. (I know, this is sounding vaguely similar to the Grinch storyline , isn't it?  "Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas means just a little bit more....")

I spoke with my three girls yesterday about Christmas next year....and my oldest exclaimed, "But MOM... its ONLY JANUARY!!!"   And I told her that it was never too early to try to make things better for the next time around.

We discussed spending more times doing the things that WE as a family wanted to do together... instead of rushing around trying to do too many things with not enough time .... and not enjoying any of it.   They completely agreed with me.
In fact, they were delighted when I suggested a Christmas Eve of cookie making for Santa,  the children's service at church, dinner with just our family and a Christmas movie snuggled on the couch before bed!

They LOVED the idea. I loved it more than they did. 

So...all that said

My intention for 2013 is to stop and look around...enjoy and breathe.
To live in the moment with my family. To do what is right for US right now.

2012 was spent in fast forward...always looking ahead....instead of seeing right now.
But really...all we have is RIGHT NOW.
And honestly, I fear that I've missed out on a LOT.

And I highly doubt I'm the only mother who feels this way.  We're all so hung up on what comes next...  and can you blame us? There are schedules to keep... because really, who can fit all this in?.... work, appointments, practices, games, etc. throw the holidays in there and it's the perfect storm! Every second is accounted for, but nothing is enjoyed, cherished or even remembered!

I can't repair what's already over and done with, but I CAN make the moving forward the way I want it...or least try. 

So ...2013... bring it on!  We're ready for fun times and wonderful memories... and living in the RIGHT NOW.

Happy New Year to all!

Peace, Love and RIGHT NOW