...because we all have our motley moments!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sometimes it good to be the MOM!

Have you seen the new McDonald's happy meal commercial?

It starts out with a Mom and Dad at McD's buying food and happy meal. Suddenly the dad grabs the happy meal and takes off running down the street (apparently they live in NYC) , the dad gets stopped by a minivan, who almost runs him over, and the mom grabs the Happy meal and runs ahead.

They continue to run through the streets of the city grabbing the Happy meal from each other until they get to an apartment building, the dad has the happy meal and is in the elevator going up and the mom just misses it and has to take the stairs.

The next shot is the dad coming into the apartment triumphant with the happy meal and hands it to his son. The son looks up, as the mom is coming in behind the dad, and says "WOW! Thanks Mom!" and the dad lowers his head and says "your welcome." the mom has a big smile! :)

Yes, it is sometimes good to be the mom!

We laugh at the commercial because it is so true at our house. Our little kings looks to his mommy for everything and it leaves daddy feeling a little left out at times. Other times, like when there is a dirty diaper to be changed, Daddy is perfectly happy to be left out!

I know that soon my little boy will identify more with his dad but for now it is good to be MOM! : )

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Long Day

I've had a long and hard day, and the majority of it was spent without my children. Does anyone else feel like their children are an anchor for them? I know that sounds kind of scary, like I'm too dependent on them, but that's not what I mean. I just feel kind of untethered without them, especially if I'm having a hard time. I spent today doing something unpleasant, expensive, and, as it turns out, pointless, and I missed time with my kids doing it. A couple of months after my dad died it was my birthday and I went to Vero with some friends to go kayaking for the day to celebrate. I had fun, but I felt funny without my kids. I felt untethered, unanchored, like I was going to fly away like a popped balloon. When I got home to them I felt safer and more grounded. Maybe that's what it is - my kids force me to be responsible and "with-it," so when I'm with them I'm more grounded. It just seems strange, is all. I remember when I was 11 and my great-grandfather died. When my parents and I got to the funeral, my grandmother was there and she hugged me and cried and it seemed as if it was such a relief to her that I was there. I remember thinking, "How weird. She needs me? I'm only 11!" But now I get it. When I got home today my kids were at Fat Boy's with the extended family and I didn't feel at home until they were. Does anyone else feel this way? Or am I crazy? Wait...don't answer that.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Hello--long time, no blog. I can't give you a great reason for my absence and tardiness in posting, but it has been an interesting few days/weeks.

First, our computer crashed. Thank you, thank you to Karly and everyone else who suggested that we get an external hard drive because we did and we only lost one month's worth of data, not an entire five years. It was a few days before we made it to the computer store, so I was off-line for a little while. That led to...

the potty-training of our anti-potty-training son. The weather was bad, we had no appointments on the calendar, and I had nothing to distract me, so we dug in our heels and and I am happy to say that the little guy now wears underwear unless he is sleeping. Woohoo! :)

This is what is on my mind today, though--I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the expectations of others (particularly people who do not live in my house). You know, I volunteer, I send cards, I try to help where I can when I can, but I'll be honest--it seems like nothing is really "enough" anymore in some areas of my life. Can anyone relate to that? It may just be part of being a mom and living in the stay-at-home mom culture, but it's frustrating. I mean, sure, I could probably do more, but I don't really WANT to. How do you draw the line in your activities?

Well, that's all I have for today. Hope you're having a great week!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong, Where the Eagles Cry...

"Even the youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

~ Isaiah 40:30-31
One of our favorite winter pastimes has been watching the eagles. We live about 10 miles from a beautiful Lock and Dam on the Mississippi River. Each January and February, the eagles migrate here because the open water from the dam enables them to fish. Some years, people have counted over 600 eagles in the immediate area. On our side of the river, there are usually only about 10-15. We love watching them soar.

This is a frozen wetland between the river and the path we take through the woods. Mom, see how much land is between us and the Mississippi River? The river is on the far right, and our trail is on the far left on the other side of the trees. She has been afraid for weeks that we would slip and fall in to the frozen water. I guess Moms never quit worrying no matter how old their children are.

The last time we went, the snow had melted and then froze over again. Our trail was a solid sheet of ice. My husband and son had a ball sliding on the ice.

I love this picture of the outhouse. Let's hope I will never have to use it!

Here is another shot of an eagle. My camera is very basic, so this is about as close and detailed as I can get. On our first trip to the dam, we met a man who drove down from Chicago. He had a GIANT camera. He was a professional. The last time we were there, we met a man who flew all the way from California just to see our eagles.
So does anybody have any eagle questions? dam questions? :) Sorry, I couldn't resist!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I Heart the Olympics!

Have you been watching the Winter Olympics this week? I love the Olympics! Either Summer or Winter, I have my favorite events. For the winter it is the figure skating, downhill skiing, and snow boarding. It is AMAZING what people can do! I am always impressed by the training that these athletes go through to get to the Olympics.
I get so into each event that I watch. I find myself acting like I am a judge "oh, that is a half a point deduction!" Even though I could NEVER do what they do! I also love to cheer for the USA team, sometimes that means that I hope the competition will fall or make a mistake (I know, I am not perfect!) And I always get teary eyed when the national anthem is played when US wins gold.
But I think my FAVORITE part of the Olympics are the inspirational stories of the athletes. So many of them over came so many obstacles in there life to get to the Olympics it makes me feel like I can do ANYTHING!
What is your favorite part of the Olympics?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

One More Random Thought

I am sorry for posting on today - not my day but someone else's. I just remembered my one other random thought.

8. Have you seen the ads for American cheese professing how great it is, and that it is a cheese Americans can be proud of? Really, do we collectively as a nation want to be known for American cheese? Sure, our kids probably eat their weight in it each year, but as far as cheese goes, is American the taste and quality that we want to be known for?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Random Thoughts

We interrupt this regularly scheduled post to bring you some random thoughts. Due to the snow storm last week and a 4 1/2 day weekend, I haven't had a lot of alone time lately. As a result, you should not expect this post to be profound or insightful. I will, however, share with you a few of the random thoughts floating around in my head.

1. Kids seem to move at only two speeds - slower than you would like and faster than you would like.

2. The Dave Matthews Band formed 20 years ago - in 1990. Let this sink in for a minute. Hey, wait, I remember their first album. That was in 1990, hmmm, but 1990 was just a few years ago. They can't be that old. They're too cool to be old. Pause to do math in head - then to quote Penny from The Big Bang Theory, "Holy crap on a cracker." 1990 was 20 years ago. Wait a minute, that would make me.......almost 20 years out of high school?!

3. This weekend we were waiting at a gas station to, of all things, get gas. All of the pumps were full, so we were waiting behind this car. The man pumped the gas and went into pay. After waiting five minutes, we noticed there was a lady sitting in the drivers seat just sitting there! She just kept waiting and waiting. Finally, some of the pumps on the other side opened so we went over there while she continued to wait. After they finally decided to move, they needed to get air in their tires. I really wanted to block them in for about 10 minutes, but of course I would never do that. Wouldn't that have been funny? I have a really dark alter-ego, but I do my best to keep her hidden.

4. A mother's love is fierce and is exemplified in a mother sea turtle. She treks, voyages and journeys across the open seas year after year to return to the same beach to lay her eggs.

5. Lately I find myself saying everything twice to doctors, teachers at school and even friends. I am not sure why that is, but it seems like I am saying everything twice :).

6. Per Psychology Today in a 2004 study, the average woman uses 7,000 words per day. I am convinced that we are only repeating the same few words over and over: No, Stop, Please, Don't and Potty (not necessarily in that order).

7. Finally, if you would like to feel better about yourself, make sure to check out Celebrity Fit Club on VH1. This season stars Bobby Brown, K-Fed, and Sebastian Bach.

Since this post lacks wisdom, motherly advice or tips for better living, please feel free to share with the group. Happy Monday!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

2 Year Old Construction Birthday Party

This week my Baby turned two! It is wonderful and sad all at the same time! He is getting to be independent, able to communicate what he wants, plays great with toys! But he is also getting a little attitude, throwing tantrums, and acting a little demanding! Ahhhhhh, the terrific- terrible twos!

We had our Little Kings Birthday party last weekend. I like to have a theme when I am working on an event... it seems to focus me a little. So when I found this tool belt tutorial I was hooked! I made the tool belt for him for Christmas and we got him some toy tools...and recycled a toy tool bench from my brother's family! Now we had the starting of a fun construction party!

Here is what we did!


The rule is: if you ask people to dress up for your party - You have to dress up!
Here we are as construction workers!

Decorations: I used the Caution Tape from Home Depot as streamers

I used one of my Hubby's work tables to display the cake!
I ordered the cake from the grocery store... they make really good cake and it saved me a bunch of time!
I am sure that you can find a fun cake to make if your google it!
We made a table my putting some plywood on a pair of saw horses!
(My parents were such great sports and went ALL OUT to dress up!)

Building with blocks! The kids LOVED this!

I got plastic hard hats from Birthday Party Express for the kids to decorate with stickers and their names. I picked up the letter stickers and other stickers from the dollar store!
Pin the Tool On the Builder:
I made the builder on tag board and cut out the tools from tag board as well.
See my son peeking at the bottom of the picture!

Here is the tool bench we got!
Beat the Builder:
Kids would try to pound the bottom row of nails before the builder pounds the top row! It is a race! If you win you get a "I beat the Builder!" badge to show off!

I made a bag lunch for the crew! I had all the lunch pre-made. This was one of the best ideas of the party! I did not have to be in the kitchen getting food ready during the party AT ALL! And everyone got fed at pretty much the same time! I put every one's name on their lunch which made it fun!
Here is what I put in each lunch. I had juice boxes for kids and cans of pop for adults.

We had a great time! I got some of my ideas from googling "construction party ideas" and others just came to me!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What I'm Reading

I don't have much that I want to write about lately, mostly because I have a lot going on and not enough distance from it to write about it very well. Suffice it to say that I'm still in the throes of the "baby craze" that I thought I had finally escaped, our outside commitments are threatening to overtake our family commitments, and time is getting away from me.

My escape: read a good book. Four weeks ago I read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, which is so witty and charming, I don't know how I managed to miss this one until now. If you haven't read it, you definitely should.

Next, I moved on to Ender's Game, which made me feel very unoriginal when I read the beginning and felt like I was reading the beginning of my own fictional work in progress, The G.E. Kid. Once I got past the beginning, though, I realized it goes in quite a different direction than I am headed with mine, so I felt a little more inclined to work on mine some more, but not inclined enough to actually do it...yet.

Ender's Game is science fiction for adolescent readers, middle to high school, and I enjoyed it. Before you start judging me for my YA fiction choices, let me remind you that the Twilight series was written for teens as well, and we all know who wound up loving it the most. Yep...Moms. At one point I even heard them called "Twi-Moms" for their crazier-than-the-kids behavior at book signings and movie events. So I'm not alone in my less-than-mature reading material choices.

Next, I have just received a copy of The Time Traveler's Wife from the library's Books by Mail program. I love checking the mail and finding a good book there instead of junk mail! Especially when it's a surprise. I was #30-something on the list when I reserved it online several months ago. It's really interesting so far. Anyone else read it?

After this, I plan to read Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief. The movie is coming out very soon and it looks really good!

How's that for an eclectic mix of literature? I love to read and my kids know it. We finished The Swiss Family Robinson with the kids and I have just started reading the first Harry Potter book to them. They are completely enraptured by it. It probably doesn't hurt that I do all the accents, including a thick Scottish brogue for Hagrid. I love reading aloud and hearing Paul read aloud to the kids. It's so cozy when we all pile up on the couch for a good story. I can forget about the outside world in that moment.

What are you reading? How do you "escape" at home?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wanna buy a bracelet?

It's February, and at Flylady.net that means it is the month where we focus on decluttering. Because of the Olympics this year, the Flylady has decided to turn our decluttering into an Olympic event so that we can really get rid of the clutter that weighs heavily on our shoulders.

I'm jumping in a little differently this time because we are in the midst of fulling funding an emergency fund (Dave Ramsey, Baby Step #3). Normally, the Flylady suggests just giving things away, and I am all for that, but I don't have a substantial paycheck to contribute to emergency fund effort, so I've decided to sell anything in our home that is not tied down. I've been doing well with books and DVD's, but I decided to peruse the jewelry box to see if there was anything of value there. Oh, the horrible memory I found there.

In college I lived with a sorority sister who came from an affluent family. They were cabinet makers in Missouri. This sister met a man who really liked the idea of being affluent, too, and they became engaged. As I lived with her at the time, I was invited to be a bridesmaid. Thankfully I was not the only one because I don't think I could have done this by myself.

We went through weeks of dress issues to be part of this wedding. We took a group trip to the bride-to-be's hometown for a fashion show to choose the perfect ensemble. We, the bridesmaids, tried on each dress, and they, the bride-to-be, her mother, and her aunt, commented on how horrible each of us looked and the specific flaws that each dress accentuated on our forms. Flat-chested, large-chested, too fat, too skinny...we left that dress shop feeling horrible. Then they took us to a restaurant that specializes in HUGE portions so we could feel even better about ourselves while we ate.

Now, I must say that 33 year old Rachel would have handled that wedding differently. I would have laughed in their faces and caught a cab home. 20 year old Rachel, however, wasn't quite ready to be that assertive, so I just went along with it and resisted the urge to develop an eating disorder.

I could go on about this wedding, but you probably get the gist of the whole thing. It. Was. Awful.

At the rehearsal dinner, we received 14K gold bracelets from England (Ooooh!). The groom had picked them for us. In each box was a cute little thank you note from the bride. Mine said, "Who knows? Maybe one day you'll be in my shoes!" Meaning maybe one day I, too, would get to be the bridezilla. Grrrr.

During my decluttering rampage the other day, I found that pretty little box and bracelet, and the catty little thank you note in the bottom. I thought to myself, "That was a horrible experience. I wonder how much I could get for this?" Now, friends, the bracelet is for sale on eBay. The auction ends later this week, and I already have some bids.

So, I'm getting paid to get rid of a harbinger of ill-feeling that I have carried around for about 13 years and worn one time. To the wedding. That's it. Ahhhh...decluttering feels so good!

Are you holding on to anything that upsets you when you see it? If so, I encourage you to send it packing! It really is a great feeling to be rid of bad memories!

Oh, and if you need a gold bracelet, here's the link;)

14K Gold Victorian-Style Bracelet by Solar England

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Relativity of Time

"To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven."

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

Alex Update

A few months ago, I posted about my son's special needs. If you missed that post, the short story is Alex was adopted from Russia and has been diagnosed with FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). This means that he has organic brain damage because his birthmother drank when she was pregnant with him. I chose to share Alex's story to make me accountable. Alex was diagnosed in May of 2008, and 18 months later, I was still in denial. I was actually still searching for another diagnosis for him.

Now that I have accepted this diagnosis, we are on the path to a happier life, and because I am researching the correct syndrome, I am actually finding some things that work. The organic brain damage for Alex means that he has difficulty with transitions, impulsiveness and distraction. My telling him most anything verbally is usually counterproductive. He can hear what I say, but the message is fragmented and lost as it travels through his brain. This simple picture schedule and clock have made our mornings far more peaceful. The only catch is that Alex is a very concrete thinker. We eat breakfast at 7:15. He will not see 7:16 as also time to eat breakfast. We eat breakfast only at 7:15. (If you have seen Rainman - Ray's Judge Wapner at 4:00 requirement is a great visual of this.) Fortunately, I quickly learned that I can reset the clock to match the time needed.

Our clock now travels with us wherever we go. Last week, for the first time ever, we left the Target toy department without one single tear or complaint. He was so quiet that none of the other shoppers knew we were leaving. It has taken me way too long to realize that most of our battles are due to a lack of understanding not defiance.

Many people respond to me with, "All kids have trouble with transitions," or "my son is also impulsive and he is fine," or "He's a just a boy." They try to console me and help me feel better. On the contrary, it makes me feel worse. Blanket statements like this minimize our challenges and take away from Alex's successes. Denying the syndrome doesn't make it go away. Believe me, I have tried.

So, in our near future, I am hoping for a more peaceful child who can be calm because I helped him feel comfortable and safe. I am looking forward to trying to increase his attention span, and we will be working on improving eye contact. And just in case you are worried, I will not be pursuing a career as an illustrator - yet :).

If you would care to learn more about FAS, I would recommend Fantastic Antone Succeeds!: Experiences in Educating Children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Edited by Judith Klienfeld and Siobhan Wescott.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sorry no post...

Sorry for the "no post" this week. We had my son's 2nd birthday party today and I am pooped!


I will post pictures of the really great time we all had! I threw a construction themed party with builder games, builder food, and builder decor so stay tuned for that next week! For now I am going to rest! : )

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Yesterday my baby turned 2, which means he's not a baby anymore. It's like a switch flipped in his brain and he decided to definitely be 2, if you know what I mean. I'm not going to use that phrase people use to describe 2-year-olds, as they're not terrible, merely challenging. Honestly, it's fun to see them grow and learn and do new things. For instance, yesterday I caught Micah in his room, climbing onto a stool so as to get to his birthday presents, which were up on Ethan's dresser. Then he pulled a chair over to the microwave in the kitchen and turned it on. Awesome.
One thing that's not fun about kids growing up is discipline. Yes, when they were infants I had to get up with them all through the night and change their diaper explosions and get hosed with spit-up, but now they have opinions. Attitudes. Yesterday when I picked Ethan up from school, his teacher did not have her usual smile on. Turns out, when another teacher asked him to scoot over in the pick-up line, he said, "No!" and smacked his fists on his knees. He also whined about the snack and refused to participate in music class. I was really ticked about him being disrespectful to the teacher, though. That I just will not tolerate. So when we got home I sat him down on the couch and explained that we do not talk to teachers (or anyone, for that matter) that way and that because he chose to be rude, he was not allowed to watch TV for the rest of the day. This was big-time punishment. Ethan's "naps" consist of him watching a movie in the guest bedroom. Yesterday, however, he had to make do without visual stimulation. At one point he came to me, chin all aquiver, and said softly, "Mom, I like watching stuff in Lori's room." (That's what he calls the guest bedroom, after my friend Lori, who is pretty much the only one who ever visits and stays in that room.) It just about broke my heart, but I didn't cave. I didn't cave later when Micah woke up and wanted to watch a video. I told Ethan he had to stay out of the den. Then, during Micah's birthday party, when he dragged Aunt Terri into the den to watch an episode of "The Backyardigans," I told Ethan he couldn't watch, that it was time for him to get a bath and go to bed. I felt like a jerk all day long. But it was worth it. This morning he apologized to the teacher he was rude to and seemed genuinely contrite. His attitude today has been excellent and he had a great day at school. I'm sure this isn't the last time we get a bad report from school or have to ban him from the TV all day, but I'd much rather deal with this now than when he's a teenager.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What a great gift!

Last weekend I decided it was time to organize all of our printed photos. Yikes. It seems like I find a new "1-Hour Photo" envelope in every box of stuff and on every shelf. I don't want to even think about all of the digital pictures that are waiting to be appreciated, either. In some ways it's fun to take a walk down memory lane, to see how we've changed. I can't seem to get over, however, how overwhelming the task at hand is.

I am not a scrapbooker. In fact, any attempts I have made to scrapbook have been horrible. The pages never look like the ones I see in magazines, and it's just too frustrating to even try anymore. I like the look of scrapbooks, and I'm very impressed with people who are able to do it, like to do it, and are actually good at it. I've settled for just putting photos into albums--you know, the ones with sleeves for the pics and then a little place on the side where I can write something if I want? The problem I'm facing now as I sift through piles of negatives and 4x6's is that I apparently haven't even felt like doing that. Again, yikes.

As I surveyed the contents of one Rubbermaid bin this weekend, I did find something interesting. When our son was born, one of my husband's friends actually made a ready-to-fill scrapbook for us. It's a little square one, and the pages have themes like "first bath" and "first food" (as in baby food). Now, I will admit that as of today there are still no pictures in it, but when I saw it I had this resurgence of hope that maybe I could actually put together a scrapbook to document those first months of the little guy's life. (Did I mention that I'm so non-gifted with this kind of thing that we don't even have a baby book prepared for him? Yeah. It's pretty bad around here.)

So, given all of the beautiful gifts we were given to celebrate our new arrival, I have to say that I may be most appreciative of that little book. It has given me something that I could never do myself, and it will keep a record of our memories for years to come.

If you are reading this and you are a gifted scrapbooker, the next time you need a gift for a baby shower and you know the Mom-to-be isn't necessarily gifted in the art, she might really be grateful for one, too. Here's to the scrapbookers of the world and for all that you do! ;)

Monday, February 1, 2010


"I can lie down and sleep in peace for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety."
~ Psalm 4:8

When I was little, I was afraid of EVERYTHING: coyotes, kidnappers, bank robbers, wild dogs, and aliens to name a few. I would wake up in the middle of the night and be so afraid. My Bible back then had a concordance, so I would sit in the bathroom and look up verses on fear.

As an adult, I am often awake in the middle of the night but now it is usually because my child is afraid. My trivial fears from my youth have been replaced by one gigantic one: I may never get another full night's sleep as long as I live! Sometimes when I can't sleep, I try to use my time wisely and pray for some of my close friends in need. On nights like those, I comfort myself by thinking that God specifically woke me up to lift that person up in prayer. On other nights, when I am not moved by the Spirit, I watch QVC. It is about the only thing on at 4:00 am. What do you do when you can't sleep? Are enough of us awake to schedule a Motley chat session in the dark early hours?