Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Didn't See This Coming

ar121115993627813It is funny what my "big city" friends and family think of my Midwestern town. To hear them talk, you would think the boys would have to scribble on chalk boards at school rather than with pencil and paper. Hubs took my dad golfing and watched my father's expression change as he drove into the golf community of choice for the afternoon; "what do these people do for a living?" he asked in astonishment. I guess he thought we were just a bunch of hillbillies down here. Mind you, I feel the same way at times but it is kind of like that old saying; "I can talk about my mama but you better not" or something like that.

My little town is kind of a secret treasure. Good schools, good cost of living, plenty of rivers to float and lakes full of fish, it is easy to get around, and extremely family friendly. Funny thing is, I could not stand this place back in my college days. Perception is reality and my priorities, and this town, were different at the time.

I did not start out as a small town girl. Born in Charlotte and raised in Kansas City, I was accustomed to long commutes, big universities, and lots of cultural entertainment. Moving around the country over the last twelve years has afforded me the privilege to live in coastal cities, New England Burroughs, charming southern suburbs, and the occasional Midwestern armpit.

Hubs and I drove up to Kansas City last week to meet with a client. What used to be a miserable three hour drive, has become a not-so-mind-numbing two and a half hour commute to the big city. The visit afforded us the opportunity to visit hub's brother and have drinks with an old friend.

To my surprise, I was not prepared for what else the trip gave me; an overwhelming sense of contentment with my current city of residence.

I did not recognize what had happened until we returned home the next day. As I drove to pick up the boys from school, I was reminded my commute was maybe ten minutes, and that it takes me no more than 15-20 minutes to get anywhere of interest on a daily basis. I would not change my childhood or where I grew up for anything. My time in the city of my youth made me realize how happy I am that we chose our current city for my boys to grow physically and mentally.

Don't get me wrong, I get nostalgic for my former life on the coast. I long for Autumn days shopping on the Plaza in Kansas City. I miss driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains on a whim. Those are all great places for me to take my boys on vacation; I may stick it out here for a while. Who knew this gypsy would settle down?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mom was Right...Again

When I was younger, my mom would offer advice about friend or boyfriend trouble. The one statement I remember her using a lot back then was "kill them with kindness".

I thought of this the other day when "she" did "it". Again. A woman I know, and respect actually, told me she didn't have time for blogs or reading other blogs. With a snide tone she chirped, "I wish I had that much time on my hands".

So I performed a little experiment the next time I saw her. I didn't say anything about the blog, but "my journal". You could say her tune changed. "Oh, I wish I did that, that is so great, the boys will love that one day".  What's the deal? What is the difference between my former hard copy journal and it's on line replacement? I am disappointed that this friend of mine, whom is normally very open minded, is so judgmental about this topic. She and I live similarly busy lives so I am not sure how or why she thinks she is better than me.  Maybe I am just better at managing my time.
I am curious if this prejudice is aimed primarily at work from home or stay at home parents. I am also curious if dads experience it as much as moms.

For now, I will follow my mom's advice. I will be the mistress of death...with kindness.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Penis Envy

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envyWhen I was pregnant with Little Man I swore he was a girl. Until I found out for sure, I even called him by the girl name we had picked out. I am not saying I wanted a girl, I just had this feeling. When I found out we were having a boy, I was more than relieved; I was not sure I could handle all the drama and emotion that it takes to raise a young women. When we were pregnant with The Babe I had no idea what the gender was and “hubs and I” (read: hubs) decided we were not going to find out. “It will be so fun to find out right as you are giving birth”. Maybe for hubs. I am way too much of a control freak to not know how to decorate the room. I also had issues just calling it baby. I needed to call it by its name….and not call it “it”! We got to the point in the pregnancy that hubs would not even consider missing a check up; he knew that I would be way to tempted to have the nurse do a quick scan and secretly tell me the gender; the man knows me well.

Fast forward four years later and I have three boys in the house including hubs. There is a lot of talk about body parts and smells, and more importantly, from where the smells are coming! I was dressing The Babe for school the other day while I was wearing my robe. Don’t get too excited men, this is the robe I think my mother in law gave me when I was still just dating hubs so you can imagine the appeal it has. Terry cloth, pockets, and a zipper. It has sexy written all over it. So I am in my “housecoat”, sitting cross legged on the floor with The Babe in front of me as I put on his socks. The Babe then points and says “Mommy’s Penis?” Trying not to laugh, I began to answer when I am cut off by Little Man; “No brother, Mommy doesn’t have a penis”. Not only was the comment funny, his tone caught my attention. It was as if Little Man felt so sorry for me, like I was somehow less fortunate than the men in the house. The Babe was curious and looked at me with a puzzled look; “You push it in?”. Now I am not able to contain my laughter. I simply tell The Babe that mommy doesn’t have a penis; beginning to feel some slight anxiety about how to distract them from the topic.

I swear if they were older I would tell them the truth; that they fall off the smart ones!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Station Identification

nailsMy mother called the other day, "you know honey, you really should be more careful about editing your blog; it is what you do you know". I was at a party the other night with friends; one of them is a word smith with one of the best blogs I have ever read. The topic naturally flows to blogs and he turns to me and says "ya know, you had a couple errors in that last post".

Have you ever had your hair done by someone that has really bad hair, only to walk away with the best cut and style you have ever had? I used to have my nails done by a girl with nails that looked like she was a mechanic rather than a nail technician. I loved my nails though.

There are many professions that require you to be a walking billboard advertising your services. In a way, my blog is just that. I normally don't talk much about work on this blog, for that very reason. This is my personal blog; I started blogging on this site for myself and my family. I try to consider myself the hair stylist that does not have time to get her own hair done because she is too busy making others look fabulous. I am happy that sometimes I am to be too busy sometimes that I just need to post rather than worry about grammar and spelling.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Better than Sleeping In

dscn05471Brad and I determined this weekend that Mother's Day is really Mother-In-Law day'; at least for us. Brad's mom drove three hours to visit her Mother-in-law and Brad and I helped prepare Mother's Day dinner for Brad's mom. This dinner, like most special occasion dinners, took place at Brad's mom and step-dad's home. Don't get me wrong; I certainly do not want to do it at my house, and I am more than happy to do it since this woman watches my boys and their two cousins every Monday. I know she does it because she enjoys it, but I also know it is not a picnic every week.

The day started early for us; we had to get up at 6am to get the boys from Nana's house after attending a camp-out wedding reception Saturday night. Needless to say, I was a little sleepy. The rest of the day was business as usual for a Sunday at our place and then we headed to dinner around 5. The twelve of us included me, Brad, our two boys; Brad's brother and sister-in-law and their three kids; my in-laws; grandmother-in-law; and one of her friends. Since we have dinner at this table every Monday night, it has become a ritual for the kids to take turns saying grace before the meal. They each have their own version and sometimes don't want to do it at all.

To my surprise this time, my Little Babe decided he would offer his 2.5 year old version. He usually passes on the opportunity so I was waiting for just about anything. His cousin had already offered prayer and blessing to each of us at the table while performing roll call and big girl cousin had offered her sweet voice and traditional blessing as well.

Before I can ask The Babe sitting to my left if he wants to say his prayer, he looks at me and says loud and proud "Happy Mother's Day to my Mommy!" and leans in for a kiss. Indeed it was.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Nowhere To Run Baby; Nowhere to Hide

3036_1129411389707_1059872422_966772_8010125_nBefore I actually visited a Hooter's restaurant I would have thought the place was a brothel where dirty old men sat drooling at young buxom women while they serve frothy beer in cold mugs.

Now that I have been to a Hooter's, I know that there are young men there too!

All kidding aside; our local Hooter's has great food. The boys love the grouper bites, I love the crab legs, and hubs loves the fact that we like the food. We have taken the boys there a few times in an effort to look less perverted, and always leave satisfied.

During our latest visit, we met Catalina. Catalina is a friend of our good friend Claudia. Claudia has just left to go back to Spain after visiting us for about a week. As you can see from the picture I took, hubs and The Babe are more than happy with the situation. Little Man, on the other hand is a little pouty. Seems Little Man has a new aversion to pretty girls. When Claudia came to visit from Spain I called to him
"Little Man, Claudia is here", to his response "Mom, I know", and then he ran and hid under his bed. My brother in law will bring his girlfriend over for a visit; where do you think Little Man will be found?

From the look on his face in this photo, you would have thought we popped the Hooter's balloon he had. He was just bummed there was no place to hide!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

People In Glass Houses

glasshouse1I will be the first to admit that I do it. I judge others. I judge the way a stranger parents their child in the grocery store. I judge when I am at that same store and see a parent with her tantrum throwing toddler at nap time. I judge those that judge! I feel a little better about this vice knowing that I make an effort to stop myself from judging others. I do not know their circumstance and I am really no better than any of them. In the end, I need to be more focused on myself and my own family than others.

Like the four year old boy in my family that has decided underwear is optional. I was informed today that underwear and boxers are too "restrictive". Not sure where he heard this. Others may find this odd; I have decided to pick my battles. Who sees under his pants anyway to even know?

We are making every effort to attend one of our church(s) more regularly. Some may find it a little unorthodox that, not only do we allow our boys to wear jeans to church, but we do too sometimes. Just be happy we show up with clothes on at all based on the above.

I strongly dislike living in a town that has such a small degree of separation. Everyone is in everyone's business and they are all trying to impress each other. I do not care what kind of car you drive. I do care though, that both of ours are paid off.

When I was a kid, my grandmother told my mom something that I try to tell myself frequently. 'Fewer people see your home than your children; care for each accordingly.'   After I had children, my priorities naturally switched gears. Although I still go through what seems to be a once a month cleaning frenzy, I am not nearly as neurotic about the dust on my furniture as I am the smiles on my boys faces.

My wish for others is that they too, focus on their own dusty shelves and not those of others. Everyone will be a lot happier.