...because we all have our motley moments!


Thursday, July 31, 2008

Scaling Mountains

My son, the second child, never ceases to amaze me. When he turned one, I was sure walking would soon follow.




He had other plans. Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen months rolled around, and still no walking. At sixteen months, on his own time, he decided to feet were better than getting around on all four.



Amazingly within a week, he just moved out. He doesn't just toddle around the house, he moves! He has speed! He has balance! He has confidence!





After this walking feat was accomplished, he decided he was ready to embrace the entire world his big sister is involved in.

He is going to walk, but he is also going to climb. He is going to drink out of his sippy cup and a big kid cup. He is going to take a bath, but he will soap himself up.

He amazes me at how confidently he is ready to embrace the big kid world!

I don't know about you, but I would love to have such confidence for things that a week ago seemed so insurmountable.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How I Dented the Car

Me: (sing-song voice) Come on Princess, we have to get going! Go get your shoes, from your closet, please. We are going to meet your friends. We have to leave quickly to be there on time.

THE Princess: Okay mom. Just a second.

Me: Okay. I am going to put your brother in his carrier. Do you have your shoes on?

P: silence

Me: Okay, I have your brother buckled up. We have to get going now. (Throwing a few diapers in the diaper bag and checking to make sure we have a paci.)

P: I can't find my other Dora jelly! WHAAAAA!

Me: It's in your closet, honey. Beside your pink cowgirl boots. Look there. (Getting a cup with a lid and filling it with water, gathering a granola bar and crackers in a baggie, throwing it all in diaper bag.)

P: I found it, Mom! I'm coming.

KOTJ: starting to fuss

Me: Princess, what are you doing? Your brother is starting to fuss, come on!

P: Wait! I have to get my purse! Mommy, where is my purse? I can't find it! WWHHHAAAA!

Me: It's on your bed. Right there.

P: No! I need the pink one! It has my Cinderella stuff in it. (getting hysterical) That's the red one with the invitations {read: crushed up papers}. I don't want that one! I want the pink one!

Me: Honey, calm down. The pink one is beside the red one. Right there.

P: WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Me: (running upstairs into her room) See, here it is, honey. Right beside the red purse. Come on, let's go! (grabbing her hand and the PINK purse)

P: Mom, do you have diapers for brother?

Me: Yes. Let's go.

P: I need a drink.

Me: I have water in my bag for you and some snacks just in case you get hungry.

P: Do you have a 'nola bar?

Me: Yes.

P: The good kind?

Me: Yes, the kind you like.

Me: (gathering up diaper bag, baby sling, KOTJ in baby carrier) Okay, I am setting the house alarm. Go to the back door so it doesn't go off. (setting alarm)

P: Mom, I need to go pee pee.

Me: Didn't you just go a few minutes a go? Are you sure you need to go?

P: Yes, I HAVE to go pee pee.

Me: (un-arming alarm and setting everything on the floor) Come on, let's go. Sigh.

P: (walks into the potty, gets pants undone, pulls stool over) Never mind. I don't have to go.

Me: You're already in here, why don't you try?

P: No, I don't have to go. Can I have a Popsicle for the car?

Me: No, we are going to be late, buckle up your pants and let's go!

P: But I want a poppy! Please mommy? Please? (fake sweet smile)

Me: You can have one when we get home.

P: We're home now.

Me: When we get back.

P: Brother is crying. We need to go.

Me: (internal scream) Okay, let's go. (picking everything back up and arming alarm) We need to hurry, I just armed the alarm, we don't want it to go off!

P: Don't let Sammy [the dog] out! No Sam! Stay back Sam!

Me: He's not coming out, don't worry. Let's go. Remember the alarm?

P: (opening the door, runs out with me and brother in tow, and promptly slams the door on my hand) Move your hand mom! The alarm!

Me: (muffled) Owwww! (unlocking and opening car door with unmangled hand) Let me open the car door for you and you can get into your car seat. Princess, come on, what are you doing over there?

P: There's a bug, mom. An ant. I'll kill it. (running around stomping her feet)

Me: Leave the ant alone. Come get into your car seat. Please.

P: Okay. (climbing in car)

Me: (snapping KOTJ into car seat base using my good hand) Jump up into your seat and hook your seat belt. (reaching through the passenger side to turn on the ignition and start the AC)

P: Hold on mom, I need a book. (slowly looks through her library that is my back seat and settles on a book)

Me: I am coming to the other side to check your seat belt. Jump into your seat please.

P: (clicking seat belt) Where's my other book?

Me: (checking seat belt) What other book?

P: The one with the chickens.

Me: This one? (handing her a book)

P: NOOO! This one has chicks! I want the one with the chickens!!

Me: I'll look once we get going. (jumping into my seat, and clicking seat belt) Can you put the paci back into brother's mouth, he is starting to cry again.

P: (plugging her ears with her fingers and yelling) Mom, brother needs his paci! It fell out of his mouth! He's crying so loud! MOOOMMMMM!

Me: (wrenching myself to reach into the car seat and find the paci) Okay, I got it. He's stopping, honey. (and since I am already contorting my body) Is this the book with the chicks?

P: I don't want that book anymore. Where's my purse?

Me: (dropping the book on the floorboard and putting the car in reverse) It's there beside you in your car seat.

P: No!! I want the red one! It has my invitations. I need them for my friends.

Me: Honey, I thought you wanted that one, the pink one. The one we brought. The red one is on your bed, we'll get it when we get back from seeing our friends. Where is your other shoe?

P: I couldn't find it. I told you!

Me: (silently counting to 10 to remain sane and then deciding to count again, but this time to 20)

P: Mom, my shoe!

Me: I have your pink flip flops in the back of the car. You can wear those when we get there.

P: I need shoes now. My feet will get dirty.

Me: You are in your car seat. How could they get dirty? (considering my car, they might, but I am choosing to ignore that right now) You'll be fine until we get there. It only takes a few minutes.

P: I need a drink.

Me: (handing her the cup from the diaper bag) Me, too.

P: Do you want some of my water? I'll share.

Me: That's sweet honey, no thanks. I was thinking of another kind of drink.

P: Iced tea? You like iced tea. Mom, put on the Go Fish guys! I want Superstar!

Me: (backing out of the driveway nearly missing the gate and the mailbox) In a second honey, I have to get going then I'll put in your music.

We have some version of this conversation, every time we go somewhere. Sometimes getting everyone into the car is the biggest reward of my day. No wonder I occasionally experience driving, ahem, complications.

Unfortunately, I dented the car by backing into the gate and scraping the side against the mailbox when I was all by myself. I guess I wasn't used to getting in and going like a normal person. I need the chaos, it makes me a better driver. I promise.





Monday, July 28, 2008

Eating My Own Words

During the first twenty years of our marriage, when we were not parents yet, my husband and I witnessed the parenting styles of our various family members and friends. Some spanked, some didn't. Some were strict, others were not. We wisely kept our opinions to ourselves, but often commented to each other: "if that was our child, I would have done ..." or "when we have kids, we will ...".

Through a variety of circumstances and the passing of years, we opted not to have children, so we didn't really tune in anymore to those opportunities to consider how we would do things. But in the back of my mind, I guess I stored up those opinions.

Now that we have our 16 mos. old daughter, I find myself having to eat my own words:
**I was never going to give in to whining -- I have done it far too often when I thought my head would explode if the noise didn't stop!
** I was never going to plunk my kids down in front of the TV -- but putting her in the Pack'n' Play and turning on Baby Einstein and Praise Baby have allowed me moments to do crazy things like take a shower or allow the dog his dinner without her interference.
**I was never going to yell at my child or use harsh words -- boy have I failed that one miserably!

The list could go on forever and will likely get even longer the older she gets. Once she starts really talking, I'm likely to blurt out the one we all say we will never do -- say "because I said so."

The point is we have to watch what we say, for we one day will have to eat our own words. Bon appetit!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Blogging Changes You

Okay, so my husband is about to file a missing person report on me. I first dove into the abyss of blogging a couple of weeks ago, and I must say, it's changing me.

Let me count the ways:

  1. I am writing a LOT more than I used to...that's good, since that's what my degree is for. See Mom? I told you I would do something with it...and yes, sometimes they do buy the cow even though you give the milk away for free...somewhere, somebody buys that cow...note to self: do not refer to me as a cow.
  2. I am learning html code for important things, like how to italicize on a comment box when there is no little button to do it for you. Seriously.
  3. I am more deliberate about what I plan to do with the kids...and then, while I'm doing it, I'm thinking about how I'll blog about it...I didn't say all these changes are for the better.
  4. My photography is improving, since nobody wants to look at seedy photos that make my life look drab, washed out, or overcast. The Key: Natural light, people, and lots of it!
  5. I like having a cyberplace to share my ideas.
  6. I hate when nobody appreciates my ideas enough to leave a comment...I'm pathetic, I know.
  7. I love sharing this blog with the other Motley Moms, since it connects us when we don't have time to chat on the phone (or enough peace in the house to hear a voice on the other end of the line).
  8. I am breaking down the wall I built between me and any technology more advanced than checking email...that's a positive one.
  9. I know how to burn feed, add HTML code, upload my life in photos, and link to anything I want to increase "hits" to my site (this is really just elaborating on #8, but I'm too tired to think of anything original).
  10. When crappy things happen to me, I just think, This is going to make a great blog!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's So Easy

This week has been a week.


It all started on Saturday when our two week old computer went on the fritz. I just wanted the computer to turn on and function without spontaneously showing us the blue screen of death. After seeing that blue screen one too many times, I called technical support - everything needed to be replaced.


And then Monday. Oh Monday - the air conditioner died. That may not be bad for all of you, but here in Central Florida, that meant we were sitting in a blistering sauna in our house.


All of these things dying led me to look up at my wall, where my great grandmother's washboard hangs. This is the actual washboard she used.



If my great grandmother could live without air conditioning, a washing machine, dryer, computer (the list could go on), I could survive a few days without wallowing in self-pity.

I'll be sure to not take these luxuries for granted.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Labels

"You know, she's a vegetarian.", explains the person introducing me to some other person. Have you ever been "labeled"? How would you label yourself?


Don't get me wrong, labels are pretty convenient and useful to just identify someone quickly, but is a "vegetarian" who I am? I suppose in part I am, but I don't ever think of myself like that.


I think of myself as someone who lives a relatively healthy life. Period. I don't go out and think, "I'm going to be the very BEST vegetarian I can be!". Others find it more interesting than I do, in fact. It invariably comes up in conversation at barbeques and other food centered events. When I'm asked why I don't eat meat, I'll explain how it's unappetizing to me to eat animals. The questions keep going from there. We eventually get to hunting, or the fact that Jesus maybe ate fish and whether or not my family eats meat.


All this when I really don't think about it much.

Now, couple that with the fact that I don't drink alcohol either. Boy, now that really throws people into a frenzy. They start to think, "What in the world does she eat and drink?".


Well, I suppose my label could be much worse. The problem comes in when people start thinking that I am labeling THEM. Trust me I don't label people as meat-eating alcoholics. I just don't think like that. I don't ask people, "Why do you eat meat and drink alcohol?". I just don't. I totally get why people do and to each his own. Really.

Cheers!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Wonder Horse


I find myself trying to recreate some of the adventures and activities that I loved as a child for my own children. I grew up on a horse farm. Now I live in the city. I love my house and my neighborhood, but I long to create some of the joys of farm life for my own kids. One thing I really loved, before I was allowed to ride a horse on my own, was my Wonder Horse. (My parents strategically placed the Wonder Horse here to make it look like it left something behind. Nice.)

You have seen them, plastic horses you could sit and "ride." I looked on eBay and they go for anywhere from $30 to $100, plus shipping. A little steep for an old plastic toy.

Then one day, while poking around the local flea market, I found one! A Wonder Horse!!! It didn't have the metal frame. It was pretty rough looking, faded paint and scuffs from years of being ridden. The name alone made the $2 I paid for it a steal! I wasn't sure what I would do with it but I had what I coveted, the Wonder Horse!
THE Princess asked me a few days later, after I had washed the Wonder Horse, if it was from a merry-go-round and that got me thinking! The next week I scoured the flea market for a simple but working floor lamp. I found an old brass one without a shade for $1, it was perfect!!

I went home and told my husband, RM, what I was envisioning. He promptly mounted the Wonder Horse on the lamp to make it look like a carousel horse, made sure that the wiring was working and safe, ran some sandpaper over it and handed it over to me.

I ran to the WalMarts and got an 88 cent can of latex spray paint in off white, taped off the metal lamp workings and cord, and went to work. I custom painted the Wonder Horse in colors that THE Princess loved and gave it clear coat. I was stumped about what to do for a shade, they were more expensive, even at the WalMarts, than I had paid for everything else. A couple weeks later my problem solved itself. I found flowery shades at Big Lots for $2 each. Sweet.



Now THE Princess enjoys her own Wonder Horse, albeit in a different way.




And I'm not calling our Wonder Horse old, it's 'retro' people. I'm always trying to be on the cutting edge of style!



Now, any ideas about how I can recreate this????


Friday, July 18, 2008

Under the Big Top

The termites are gone now, and we're taking back the house. However, I thought I'd share our conversation about extermination aesthetics:

My husband, Paul: Man, that's one big tent.

Donna: Huge. I like it.

Paul: Hm?

Donna: It really brightens up the house, you know? All those cheerful stripes. It looks like a circus tent.

Paul: Very appropriate.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It Must Be In The Genes

Growing up, I was that child who would say those dreaded words..."I'm bored." I am still that child (just in a much taller, ahem, bigger body). Here I go, I confess...I constantly am catching cabin fever. I constantly am anxiously seeking to just get out of the house and do. (Do what, often I don't care, but just do.)

Well I have learned how to deal with this cabin fever sickness I catch so often. Now as a mother I am learning how to deal with the genes my kids so kindly inherited from me. Both of my kids are chronically sick...with cabin fever.

Tonight my husband walked in the door and said, "who wants to go outside?" Before I could even turn around, both of my kids were standing at the door, pawing to get out.

It was like seeing our black lab standing at the door after a long day in her crate. I don't think my kids cared what we did, we just had to do!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Here it goes....

Hi everyone! First of all, this is like so way cool to be writing something that a bunch of people may read at some point. I don't even journal or anything like that, so this is totally new territory for me. In the future, I hope I sound somewhat intelligent and personable to you.

Well, it's 10:49pm Tuesday night, and everyone is sleeping here except me. I figured this will be the only quiet time I'll have to actually complete a sentence in my head so here I am, but I'm super tired and just want to go to bed too.

I really don't have anything deep to relate to anyone, but just wanted to dip my toe into virtual world.

I read some of the other blogs and love them! So real life, huh.

Until next week...
Good night. Sleep tight everyone.

THE BEST ADVICE by Brystal

I have never gotten so much advice as I did when I got pregnant with my first child. My mom had lots to say, as did my grandmother, and my closest friends. I expected that. I didn’t expect it from the lady in the grocery store checkout line at 5 am when I craved sauerkraut on the way to work. I didn’t expect it from parents of students who had discipline, ahem, issues. The hairdresser, mailman, neighbor 5 doors down, the man walking his dog around the lake and the bank teller all gave me advice.

I decided to take a different tact. I looked to the “experts.” In addition to the “What to Expect” books, I began to compile resources. I got the tried and true Dr. Spock’s Guide and the AAP Childcare book. I read Dobson, Sears, AP International, La Leche League, Feed Me I’m Yours, and read Rosemond articles by the dozen. I got the best book I have ever come across, The Mother’s Almanac, from my mom. There were still notes in it from when she was pregnant with me.

I started to worry about school. I found What Did You Learn in School Today? and about 10 books on homeschooling. I started to find my way. I got the Baby Center weekly emails. I joined the local MOPS group. I started to make connections with moms who had similar ideas. Christian moms whom I could learn from. Believe me, I took notes. I wanted to get things right. This was the most important job I would ever do. I was worried that I wasn’t up to the task.

After all of that, what was the best advice I got?

“Listen to advice, read books, research. Pray about it. Then, at the end of the day, remember that no one knows your family like you do. No one knows your children like you do. Do what you know is right for you and your family, even if it doesn’t agree with the ‘experts’ and even if it doesn’t agree with me.”

That advice has taken me through every peak and valley and it’s the only advice I pass along to the pregnant lady in the grocery store line at 5 am.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mullet Mom - a.k.a. Cindy



Here goes nothing -- my first foray into the world of blogging. My own blog moniker is now Mullet Mom, based on the fact that I am a proud product of the 1980s (the decade of conspicuous consumption) from my once mullet cut hair to my love for 80s music, fashion, and fads. They obviously created the VH1 shows "I Love the 80s" for mullet moms like me.

As a motley mullet mom, I am surrounded by other mothers of preschoolers in our local "clique" that were barely out of the diaper stage themselves when I was dying my hair to look like John Taylor of Duran Duran (and ended up with a skunk stripe) and not so secretly lusting over Adam Ant (I can hear you laughing aloud "young-uns" as my secret is now out). Those days will be a constant source of amusement for my own toddler once she hits her teen years I feel sure. Like my teenaged niece and nephew now I will have to show her what a vinyl record was (yes, I have a huge collection and a turntable to play them on) and what a cassette tape was as by the time my daughter is a teen those will probably be obsolete as well.

I'll also have to sheepishly admit to having attended a number of rock concerts in venues before indoor smoking was banned and how you could get a contact high from the various types of smoke filling the air. That is one thing I don't miss now when I attend the reunion tours of the band I loved as a teen; instead, now that they are largely held in sporting arenas, we have folks sitting down (no standing or dancing allowed it seems) who make frequent trips to buy beer throughout the shows, forcing everyone near them to re-situate themselves as they climb across you to get back to their seats.

But while I may not share similar trips down memory lane with the other motley moms on this blog, I do share a faith in and love for Christ as well as the joy of friendship we share as we learn to parent our preschool children. I was wisely advised by Donna that age is not as relevant as the stage of life you are in. She was so right!!! We share this life stage, and I am proud to be a part of this motley crew.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

ON GETTING IT WRONG by Donna

The catchy phrase "When it rains, it pours" is so catchy, it's getting caught in my throat.

I kept finding piles of wings around the house (the 1928 wood frame house we bought 2 years ago) and, yes, they are termite wings. Naively, we agreed with our FOUR-AND-A-HALF-YEAR-OLD that they kinda looked like seeds. You know, the kind that dry up inside a weedy flower and blow around in the wind. When I tried to explain these "seeds" to the termite inspector, I could tell he was struggling to keep a straight face.

Apparently, these little invaders swarm in the house, get where they want to go (a nice woody spot, I guess), tear their own little wings off, make termite whoopy, and then burrow into the beautiful wood floor my husband painstakingly stripped and refinished himself.

Sadly, the children's floor was partially eaten out before we got worried enough about all the seed piles. Whoops.

Last week, right before our July 4th cookout, I was unloading the dishwasher when I realized the cabinet above me was actually pulling away from the wall. I kept hearing a cracking sound when I closed that cabinet door. I thought it was the plastic bag of flour, so I pushed it in a little further and shut the door. The door opened again, so I gave that bag of flour a good shove. That's when I realized that the cabinet was coming down. On top of me.

So there I was, holding up my cabinet and trying to close the dishwasher with my foot, shouting for my husband in my calm distressed voice. It never actually fell, thank God. We got it down and put it on the back porch where the rainstorm that afternoon soaked it and it fell apart. Gotta love pressed wood.

The kitchen cabinet just spontaneously decided to malfunction. It actually had nothing to do with the termites. We're just lucky, I guess.

Intro

Welcome to Motley Moms! We're a motley melding of writers, crafters, artists, teachers, once-a-month chefs, and, of course, moms!
This is slice-of-life writing. We couldn't make this stuff up! If you like what you see here, check out our other blogs. We hope you have as much fun reading this as we have in writing it!

The Motley Mom Crew