EVPHO

Executive Vice President, Home Operations

Run In With The Law

So picture me driving home from a busy morning of activities and errands, completely spaced out thinking about my to-do list of emails to answer, doctor appointments to make, moving logistics to plan, what will be a quick and easy lunch for the kids and praying Associate A doesn’t fall asleep for the last 5 minutes of the drive home.   Transitioning a sleeping toddler to their bed is a complete fantasy that only happens to magical mommies and their fairy children. The rest of us end up with upset little dragons who did not want to be woken up.

Anyway, when I finally do look in the review mirror I see beautiful twinkle lights in the car behind me.  As I pull over to the side of the road, I am still in mommy la-la-land that I tell my associates “oh look guys, a police car is coming” assuming the officer was going to pass me and speed off to help some poor soul with real problems.

traffic stop

Nope.

He pulls over right behind and I begin to realize that I am getting pulled over. I shift it into park, and fire a quick warning to my Associates “A police officer is coming to talk to mommy, please be quiet.” That was Mistake #1.  Associate P then begins to get excited and spirals into a serious of questions that make my head spin.

While P is still babbling on in the back the officer approaches my window and asks if I know why he pulled me over.  I have no idea. It could be anything. Much of the last 5 minutes of my drive is a blur as I was thinking about everything but driving.  I couldn’t even remember if I’d checked my phone while driving… is that illegal in FL yet?

When he tells me it is an expired tag, I stare blankly at him.

Sure. Why not. If you say so. On my list of things to worry about, I promise you the little yellow sticker on the back of my car has not been ranked a in a long while.  The tag expired 3 weeks ago he informs me.  He takes my info and heads back to his car.

Associate P is still firing off questions, interrogating me from the backseat.  After the 65th “Why did he want to talk to you mommy?” I responded, “Because mommy messed up.”

“Oh no. Oh no. Mommy why did you do it? Was it an accident? You should apologize. Will you get a time out? Why would you do it mommy, why?”

At this point I am still calm. 3 weeks expired is nothing right? He’ll check my record and see I’m a great driver and give me a warning. Nope. Mr. Officer DoGood writes me a ticket – $119 – and strongly suggests I go get it taken care of ASAP because I can, and probably will be pulled over again by our overzealous beachside cops with nothing better to do.

At this point my lip is quivering and I am holding back tears.  He tries telling me a quick visit to DMV can have it solved today. I look back at the now sound asleep Associate A and Associate P, who is so excited he is almost busting out of his 5 point harness trying to press his face against the glass and look at the police man right outside his window.

Still composed, but feeling the frustration beginning to well up, I ask if I can be cited again for this if I can’t get to it for a few days.  “Oh yes, absolutely.”  Then I lose it. The quiet tears start to run down my cheeks.  This was mistake #2. I waited entirely too long to pull out the water works.

The guy melted like a smores in a camp fire.  I could see his composure change and he was no longer Officer DoGood, he was Officer I-Hate-these-Stupid-Quotas-I’m-Sorry-I-Had-To-Do-This-To-You.  He apologized for not giving me a warning.  “If it was only a week, I could have let you go with a warning. Please just get it fixed as soon as you can.”

As we parted, I was now angry at myself for letting the darn tag expire AND for not crying sooner.  Silly me to think he would let a little mistake slide.  The Man was imposing his authority on me because he had to, not because he wanted to.  Had I shown a little emotion a little sooner he would have backed off and let me slide.  I had it all figured out, I know how to beat The Man next time, I’ll just start crying and get away with whatever stupid little thing I did that was against the rules….

Wait a minute… that thought process sounds an awful lot like the antics my Associates pull 10 times a day.  Only I am The Man imposing the silly rules… hold a railing on the stairs, take turns with your brother, you MUST put pants on… and they are the ones who whip out the tears and all too often get me to let them slide on their bad behavior.

Well, well well.  This was an interesting little insight to the psychological warfare the Associates and I battle daily.  The odds of me getting pulled over anytime soon is slim to none (I did make the effort to get to the DMV and get a new tag), but the odds of my Associates trying to weaken my will is a sure bet.  So the question is, will I now be more motivated to remain firm and hold the line, or will I cave to the pungent guilt their alligator tears emit.

Only time will tell ;)

Break from Reality

This weekend I got to escape for a three day roadtrip with some girlfriends. We packed up pillows, M&Ms and our country music playlist to drive to the Florida Alabama state line for Kenny Chesney’s one and only concert of the year. We joined about 40,000 of Kenny’s biggest fans for a 8 hour beach party. FloraBamaJama

flora bama jamma 1

It was insane. Everyone had a drink in their hand at all times. People of every shape and size were half naked in their swim suits, frying like bacon in the unrelenting sun. The heat was so intense you couldn’t tell if people were wet from jumping in the Gulf for a swim (or bathroom break!) or from sweat.

But spirits were high and everyone was as friendly as a dunk hillbilly at a country music concert… Probably because that is exactly what they were. There was free water – both to drink and from the fire hoses that doused us every 30-40 minutes. And God bless the event organizes who ordered plenty of Corona and rum.

At numerous points in the day, I looked around and thought “How crazy is this! I can’t believe I’m here!! Am I sticking out like a sore thumb?! Do these people know I’m a boring SAHM? Can they tell I haven’t shaken my groove thang in a loooong time?”

Then Kenny played a song that put me right at ease… 

I looked around and realized that i wasn’t surrounded by a bunch of drunk hillbillies. Ok maybe there were a few. But there were also other parents, teachers, doctors, editors, programers, paper pushers and workers from all collar color careers. There were college kids and retired folks. There were even a few young children, but I’ll save my commentary on that for a future post “you might be a bad parent if…”

Everyone needs a break from reality sometimes and what better way than a good-time gathering, huge crowd and loud music on a gorgeous beach. As his song says,

We need a rock and roll show in the summer
To let the music take us away
Take our minds to a better place

Where we feel that sense of freedom
Leave our worries behind, we don’t need ‘em
All we need is a sunny day and an old tailgate
And we’ll escape

 It was an awesome experience and I’ll never forget it.

I love my life. The good Lord has blessed me with a loving husband, beautiful home, healthy children and an amazing support network of family and friends. There is nothing I would change about my reality. I love it and am grateful for it everyday.

But the reality is I am in the midst of some of the hardest times of parenting.  I spend all day with two little associates who need me for everything – to feed, clothe and bathe them.  To transport, entertain, discipline and teach them.  They need me to be loving and patient 24/7… and sometimes that is really, really hard.

 It was so nice to take  break from that reality and ride in the back seat of a car for 8 hours reading a novel, listening to anything but Raffi, and laughing with friends. Taking my time eating and not helping someone else eat. It was a joy to go to the bathroom by myself – especially in the nasty rest stops on the highway, I was extremely grateful not to have to corral a toddler into a dirty stall. Getting dressed and make up on is so much more fun when sharing a bathroom with two other women, helping you decide what to wear and fixing each others hair, rather than two toddlers ruining what you wanted to wear and pulling out my hair.  And laying on the beach, with a cold drink in my hand I was grateful for the break from reality.  

The CEO and I are believers that absence does make the heart grow fonder.  Spending a little time away from the people and things you love make you that much more appreciative of them when you snap back into reality.  

Bye Bye Mommy

You’ve heard me lament the difficulties of raising a clingy child.  Let us now look at the polar opposite problem: the child who actively tries to escape.  Associate A is an extrovert.  We can politely call him a free spirit, adventurous, or curious, but the reality is he is a wild-man.  A thrill-seeking toddler with no fear.  He runs wild so much, Associate P’s favorite game is playing “chase that baby!”

It is one thing to recognize you have an independent child.  It is another to know you have a child who is a flight risk.  This weekend, that reality hit me hard.  We had taken the boys on an overnight stay in a huge hotel in the heart of The Happiest Place on Earth.

-  Every time the elevator door opened, Associate A ran out.  Whether it was our floor or not.  One of us would have to scoop him up before the doors closed again.

- When in the elevator, he would try to push buttons. But not just any button. He’d discovered the emergency button that set off a loud ringing in the elevator and did it every time.  Maybe he really was trying to call for help…. hmm.

- In the very crowded swimming pools, Associate A was annoyed at my efforts to keep him above water and alive, and thought it was fun to swim away from me saying “Bye Bye Mommy!”   Clearly thought the drunk birthday girl wearing a tiara in the pool and her string bikini entourage looked like more fun than us.

-  Then in a final defiant act, he woke up in the middle of the night and left.  Yup. You read that right. He got up opened the huge, heavy hotel door and went for a walk.  In retrospect, he was probably looking for aforementioned birthday girl.  It all makes sense now of course.

But that night it didn’t.  I woke up about 12:30 and thought I heard a knock.  As I got up and stumbled around the room I noticed there was only one child sleeping in the bed, where previous I had put two to sleep.  Huh. Completely freaked out, I yelled at the CEO to wake up.  “A is gone!”

The CEO got out of bed and confirmed my observation that yes, in fact, our baby was gone.  He opened the door, looked down the hall and saw a Hotel staffer about to knock on a door.

“Have you seen a baby?!?” the CEO shouted.  The staffer pointed in the other direction.  The CEO ran out and saw a couple holding on to Associate A.   They turned around and met the CEO in the hall who grabbed A and squeezed him.  I still stood frozen in my spot in the hotel room.

The lady was clearly annoyed and judging us for letting a toddler wander the halls alone in the middle of the night.  She sounded as if she was ready to lecture us about proper parenting.   I stepped out of the room and she must have seen my shocked, worried expression and quickly changed her tone. “Don’t worry, he’s ok… he’s ok.”

What followed was a blur of a conversation.  They found him wandering the hallway and called for help.  They and the hotel staff were knocking on doors looking for the mystery baby’s parents.

The CEO and I apologized profusely and thanked them over and over as we hugged our little man. Associate A looked exhausted, but was completely calm.  It was kind of creepy.  Like a criminal who just plead guilty standing in the courtroom.  He knew he’d been caught, but by now he was so tired and over it, he didn’t even care.

 

As we stepped back into the room and closed the door, we triple checked the door lock and built a barricade of furniture in front of it. Then climbed into our king bed with Associate A nestled between us.  The CEO and I exchanged a few words of thanks and praise to God for his safety, then had a whispered debate about how long he could have possibly been out there.  How did he open the door and it slam shut, the way hotel doors do, and we didn’t hear him? And thank God that kind couple found him and not that trashy birthday girl and her drunk friends stumbling back to their room.

Needless to say I spent the rest of the night staring at the ceiling contemplating all the ‘what ifs’.  What if he’d gotten on the elevator and rode to another floor? What if we’d slept all night and woke in the morning to find him gone.  “Hello front desk, I’d like to report a child missing!”  I never thought I was the type of parent who would have to explain herself to child protective services.

Associate A’s midnight escapade helped me realize that he is going to be so extroverted and adventurous we are probably going to have to give him a whistle, so when he runs off… as we know he eventually will…. he can blow his whistle and we can come find him.

That is what my Mother in Law says she did for the CEO.  Until this happened I kind of thought her cute stories of little CEO running off so much he needed a whistle were BS.  Nope. When we got back home, the CEO went to his box of childhood memorabilia to produce said whistle that he did in fact wear around his neck for the better part of his childhood.

Oh Dear Lord, please help me.  This one is going to keep me on my toes!

Associate A Singing in the Rain

Associate A Singing in the Rain

 

 

 

Take a Chill Pill Mommy

I might have issues with doing to much.  I am not content to sit still and do nothing.  I have an inner voice demanding I fill every moment with productivity.  I plan ahead, and borrow worry.  I say yes to things I know I don’t have time for just to prove I can do it all, but then I end up stressing over doing things perfectly, when they aren’t worth stressing over at all.  

Last night I found this email, a daily update from over a month ago, that I’d saved but never actually took the time to read.  I saved it, knowing just from the title I needed to, and should have read it. I finally got around to is last night when my stresses and to-do list annoyed not just me, but clearly annoyed my CEO… who, God bless him, told me “I work very hard so you don’t have to.  Why do you have to try and do it all?” 

My husband has given me the grace to be imperfect.  He’d rather have a happy momma and associates than have a clean house.  He’d rather have a lazy Saturday than worry about packing for a move that is a month away.  Why can’t I give myself the same grace to just relax and enjoy today.  

So here are the words of wisdom that calmed me down last night, and I will be memorizing and chanting whenever I feel my inner voice telling me to clean for 30 more minutes, answer all emails ASAP, do this and that, say yes to another time consuming commitment, etc etc.  

 

If you want to be a happy person, you need to relax in God’s grace every day.

 

Philippians 3:3 says, “We Christians glory in what Christ Jesus has done for us and realize that we are helpless to save ourselves” (LB).

One of the things that will rob you of your happiness is legalism. Legalism is the attitude that you have to prove your love to God. …

 

When you finally realize there’s nothing you can do to make God love you more, it is one of the most liberating feelings in the world. And, it is a key to happiness. Every day, remind yourself of the grace of God, and relax in it.

 

“I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith” (Philippians 3:9 NLT).

 

http://rickwarren.org/devotional/english/happy-people-relax-in-god-s-grace?roi=echo7-12519613667-36690751-a9d827cb061263274f815d31e0f8643c&#.U85tq41dVy8

 

I really do enjoying helping others and volunteering my time.  And I definitely would go nuts if I didn’t have some reasons to interact with other adults, but my prayer today and going forward is that I do a better job of relaxing in God’s grace.  Doing the best I can, and not holding myself to unrealistic standards of productivity.  

Mommy Version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The last time I left my Associates and went on a weekend management retreat with the CEO, one of them caught a stomach bug and my in-laws spent 4 days cleaning up after a barfy, poopie little kid.  If they weren’t already Angels on Earth for raising my husband, that most definitely earned them their wings in my book.

You would think an experience like that would be the last time someone offers to take your children.  But no. Grandparents are a glutton for pain and love our little ones so much they are willing to risk the occasional bodily fluid mishap.  They also love us enough to know WE needed the break from the wee-ones, and they want their grandchildren to grow up in a happy home where mommy and daddy are happy and no one is on the brink of nervous breakdown.

We did call in some backup and have a reliable friend and frequent babysitter come spend one night with the kids, so granny and granddad only had to really gamble on one night…  What I failed to really think through was that the one night was the Fourth of July.

Before kids, the Fourth of July is an amazing holiday where you enjoy family, friends, food and copious amounts of loud and often unsafe fireworks.  AFTER KIDS, you may get to enjoy family, friends and food but the extravaganza of explosives is no longer a source of joy for you.  You will spend the entire day trying to tucker your kids out so they can sleep through the insane amount of noise that your neighbors (still awesome and kidless) will explode all evening long.  You won’t really get to relax that evening, in a constant heightened state of awareness waiting for a child to wake scared out of their mind that suddenly the cozy world they know has been turned into a war zone.

I was so in need of a weekend getaway, and my planning focused on getting ready for the wedding the CEO was in, that the fact it was also The  Fourth of July escaped my mind almost entirely. ALMOST.  As in I realized this crucial detail a few days before and lost sleep for two nights debating if we should just take the kids with us rather than worry they will freak out and keep Granny up until wee hours of the morning, when all the teenagers next door to her finally run out of things to blow up.

I’m happy to report the Associates did great.  They went to bed fine at Granny’s house (a first!) and while maybe they slept a little restlessly, no one had PTSD from the barrage of explosions launched that evening.

Meanwhile, I was an hour and a half away on a crowded beach and enjoying the explosives in all their glory.  The CEO and I had a great day, enjoying spending time together .  We had lunch at a white table cloth place and didn’t rush.  We drove through the Daytona race traffic blaring “Happy”  and car dancing like the awkward non-race fans we are.  We chilled on the beach and had been drinking at a nice pace all afternoon.  The perfect evening with great friends, food and music almost had me convinced I was 24, awesome and kidless again.   In fact, we were laying on a blanket looking up at the explosive display and he had to convince me it would be incredibly ridiculous if we started making out like a pair of star-crossed teenagers. “We are in our thirties for pete’s sake!”  I don’t think he said ‘gross’, but as I type, that is what comes to mind.  No one wants to see that. Gross.

So we got up and joined the group again, filled our cups and then suddenly it happened.  I saw an exhausted little man stumbling about the beach, bouncing between family and friends looking for someone who would hold him and reassure him he was safe, sound and could pass out in peace.  And guess whose ovaries jolted her with 200kw of estrogen.  Guess whose guilty conscious said “Your mother in law is rocking your scared, exhausted boys right now, and you are here acting like the spoiled little Royals that annoying song brags about.  For shame!”  I was instantly compelled to pick him up and offer “I can hold you little buddy.  Go ahead and fall asleep on me.”

I handed my solo cup to the CEO, who is looking at me in shock at the Jekyll-Hyde transformation he just witnessed.  He walks away and leaves me there to breathe in the sweaty little man who passed completely out in my arms as I swayed back and forth kissing his little head.  For a few moments my ovaries and conscious were relieved.  This is what I am meant to do.  It is who I am.  I am a woman who craves little cuddles. And apparently if I do not have my own little around to cuddle, I will find someone else’s to.  I loved it. It felt so good to hold him and know I could support him so he could relax completely.

But after a few minutes… I don’t know how long because time was blurred due to the alcohol and the hormone surge… but he started to get really, really heavy.  This wasn’t a little 2 or 3 year old I’m used to dead-lifting.  This kid was 5 or 6 and BIG.  My mind races.  “Holy cow, he is heavy.  I think I’m sinking into the sand.  Oh God, I can’t hold him.  We are going to fall over.  I’m going to drop him.  Who are his parents again? Why have the conveniently disappeared as I stand here rocking their kid to sleep.  HELP!”

His father was close by and I think began to realize his child was no longer safe and was in real danger, so he scooped him up and carried him off to bed. Or a near by blanket on the beach.  Not sure.  Because as soon as that little man was out of my arms, Mr. Hyde was back.  The jolt was instant and I physically shook the creepy-over-attentive-mommy off and brushed her to the sand and stepped on her.

The rest of the night is, as they say, history.  I don’t want to brag, but we stayed up past 11pm.  The next morning we were legitimately hungover and slept in until 7:45am!!!  That hasn’t happened in a long, long while.

I hope that little man slept soundly too.  He sure was sweet.  And I hope I’m the only girl to ever love him and leave him like that. He deserves someone who will cuddle all night long ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Little Minion

This was one of those weeks where I really had to remind myself to unconditionally love the annoying little person who won’t give me a moments rest or do anything without being within eyesight of me (preferably arms reach, of course).  More and more I find myself losing my temper at Associate P, a three year old who is proving to be more needy, clingy and whiney than the 18month old Associate A.   I don’t know if it is because I now expect more of him –  I see other kids his age sufficiently coping with moments of separation from their mothers and even interacting with other children – or because I am just over his clingy MO.

I joked this week that he is abusing the word mommy to the point I am tuning him out.  For all I know the middle of his whiney rant is a groundbreaking theory of astrophysics, but I wouldn’t hear it because when he starts the sentence with half a dozen “Mommys” I stop listening.

So just when I thought I had enough this week, my sister very randomly texted me this picture.

Image

The picture had spoken to her because her kids are tweeny-age boys now and driving her crazy in ways I can’t yet imagine.  She is still sacrificing a great deal for them on a daily basis.  Putting her needs aside to cater to theirs.  Exhausting herself caring for them, only to have her guidance balked at and her emotional efforts shunned.  She was in a “Just leave me ALONE!” mood.  She saw this picture and thought longingly of me, lucky to be home with two sweet little toddlers who still adore me and think I’m the best person in the whole world.

It was a gut check for sure.

I was in a “Just leave me ALONE!” mood too, and had been all week.  In fact, I realized I had been down right mean to Associate P lately, shunning his affections in effort to reclaim moments to myself. …. to do what?  Clean? check emails?  Look at the child, sublimely happy to be in a special moment with his mommy.  That is all P wants.  And I’ve been too annoyed to give them to him.

After lunch I put Associate A down for a nap and Associate P and I get some 1:1 time before his quiet time.  All he wants to to is play Garbage Dump for the millionth time, and lately I just don’t want to.  I’ve tried diverting to puzzles or playing all those educational activities we just can’t do when the little one is up, but P is tired and not at all in the mood for thinking.  He wants to mindlessly make truck noises and dump and pick up little pieces of paper, over and over and over.  And he wants me to be the front loader moving it around the dump.  Exasperated by even the thought of this monotonous drill, I barked at him “Mommy has better things to do than play garbage dump.  You can do that by yourself.”   And moms everywhere know the response he gave me… “But Mommy I want to play with YOU.”   But in the mental state I was in, that response just annoyed me further.

My sister’s innocent text reminded me that I should be treasuring these precious 1:1 times with him, because they are fleeting.  Reminded me that it doesn’t matter what we do, as long as we are together it IS special to him.

Then yesterday I read this post “8 Awesome Things About Toddlers.”  As I read, I realized perhaps my growing annoyances were because Associate P is moving out of this sweet toddler stage.  He’s no longer napping, nor does he find joy in every little thing.  I can no longer plan a day that I think will be fun and count on him being excited about it too.  More and more he has his own opinions and ideas, and we end up butting heads when he refuses to go along with MY plans.  And while I appreciate where the writer is coming from on her first bullet, The Adorable Way They Butcher The English Language, his speech development is a constant stressor for me these days.  Sure, he talks all the time.  But most people still can’t make out what he is saying because he doesn’t yet articulate most consonant  sounds.  I’m trying everything from more reading and over pronounced speech to watching edu-movies about letter sounds.  … but I digress.

Perhaps most heartbreaking, was I realized he isn’t “Perfectly Cuddly” anymore.  He is so big when he sits in my lap to read, I often can’t see the book.  And if he squirms around on my lap when reading or putting shoes on, we can both get hurt if he throws his head back, straight into my face.

He is growing up.  My sweet little baby boy is growing up.  And I need to grow up too.  The game has changed and he is no longer My Little Minion, gleefully doing as I say.  Perhaps Associate is a more appropriate term now than it previously has been -

noun   -it/
  1. a partner or colleague in business or at work.

He is my Associate and our professional relationship can only succeed if I give him the respect I demand of him.  So as the need for discipline and instruction increases, so does the need for me to listen to him and respond to him.

I am already sad at the realization my little man is growing up.  It does happen way too fast.  But I know we have many more fun days together ahead of us, and hopefully I can be better about enjoying each and every stage as much as I loved the precious toddler days.  So I’ve spent the last three days listening for his “Mommy come play with me” requests and trying to be ready for the call, even if it is another round of Garbage Dump.

 

 

Honey, I’m Home… OMG!!!

Funny story today, worth sharing.

The CEO popped home to grab lunch, only to walk smack into a huge playdate in progress. You could see the sheer horror on his face as he lay witness to so many women and children destroying his house.  He was probably also extremely disappointed to be unable to identify his own children in the crowds of wet, sticky wee ones running around.

He came in, politely smiled and waved to the few ladies he maybe recognized despite our SAHM day attire (ie no makeup, baggy clothes and sweaty).  At least I hope he recognized them.  Some of these women are good friends that we usually only see on social occasions where we have all showered and clean clothes on.  I wouldn’t want their husbands to have seen me today, and as soon as I saw him, my first thought was to APOLOGIZE to my friends… “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know HE’D be here.  Its so awkward!!”   Like when a boss would pop into the after work happy hour… CEO encroachment was a total playdate buzz-kill.

Anyway, he came in and found me cutting cheese – literally – into little cubes for the kiddos.  I gave him the “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!?!” look.  He responded with the “GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE!!!” look.

I felt like a teenager getting busted by her parents for having a party while they were out (not that I ever did that ;)  “Oh Hi Hun.  I thought I mentioned I had a few friends coming over today… um, you want some cubed cheese, watermelon or blueberries?”   I felt the need to apologize … making the mental note I’d really, REALLY have to clean up now.  He will be avoiding coming home all day thinking it will be a disaster zone.

His response was swift, “No I’ll go out and grab something.  See you later.”  Faster than you can say “Daddy’s Home” he was gone again.

I bet some of the women didn’t even notice him.  Most of the kids, including mine, were totally unaware a man briefly crashed the party.  They were too busy splashing in the baby pool, digging in the sandbox or finding every last toy in our house.

But after I scrambled to clean up during my Associates quiet time, it occurred to me that unlike the mad dash to clean after a high school party, I would not be getting in trouble this time.  My CEO would not be mad at me for throwing a party while he was out. In fact, I bet he is glad I did.  He knows I need to be social and see friends, and after seeing just how crazy a playdate can be, I am positive he would prefer I only do them when he is not home.  In fact, I bet he’ll never make the mistake of coming home at lunch again without checking in via text first!

 

 

 

 

 

Love Is An Open Door

I’ve been meaning to write about the highlight of our recent trip to Ohio.  We had a lot of fun – tractor rides, playing in dirt piles, a trip to one of the Top 5 Zoo’s in the country The Toledo Zoo, and spending lots of time with family.

But hands down, the highlight of the trip was seeing my boys and their cousins bond.  I love my nieces and nephews a little too much.  Its unhealthy.  I am probably the most proud aunt you will ever meet.  Because my siblings were close in age, wouldn’t you know it they all started having babies at the same time.  Between the 4 of them they had 9 kiddos born in about a 5 year span.  It was crazy.   And each baby that came was cuter than the last (sorry Drew ;)

I was living out of town for college and then grad school when they were all born and in these adorable toddler years.  I visited back home as often as I could to see them.  But it was heart breaking to have to be reintroduced to them every time.  Little ones just don’t have great memories, and when they only see you a couple time a year it takes a while to really earn the reputation as Super-Fun Aunt Katie.

For me, visits home for the last 15 years have been all about enjoying these kids as much as I can.  I wanted to know them and I wanted them to know me.  But when the CEO and I had kids, it all changed.  I had this crazy fear my kids would miss out on all the crazy cousin fun the others get to enjoy. I worried we wouldn’t be able to see them enough, or when we did there would be too much of an age gap for them to bond.

Thankfully, those fears and most certainly squashed.  Thanks to facetime, my kids see their cousins pretty often.  We also do a pretty good job of still getting together as a family, and my husband is cool with vacationing with my family.  Just last year we were all together for a week, then the boys and I flew to Ohio for another week to keep the party going.  It was great.

Playing Trains With Their Big Cousin and His Old Thomas Set.

Playing Trains With Their Big Cousin and His Old Thomas Set.

And even though we hadn’t physically been with any of my nieces or nephews since that vacation last July, both my boys instantly loved all their cousins like not a day had gone by.  They spent the whole trip playing with their cousins, and had a ball.  At one point, completely unprompted, Associate P declared  “I love Ohio because I get to play with my cousins here!”

I personally felt a little guilty last summer and this visit, because since having kids of my own, I’m no longer crazy fun Aunt Katie who comes to play with my nieces and nephews.  Now I’m a tired mom who sits back and enjoys the break as they play with my kids.  But it was very little guilt and the beers and laughs with my parents and siblings helped me get over it pretty quickly ;)

So when I think of the best moment of our trip to Ohio, it was definitely the beautiful sound of 2 preteens and 2 toddlers belting out “Love is an Open Door” as we enjoyed ice cream with the whole gang.  Yup. That was the best moment of the whole trip.

As I ponder the beauty of the moment and reflect on all the Frozen has taught me, I can say with confidence that family love is the most special force on earth.  We know each other from birth and there is the special something inside us that unites us, forever, no matter what.  No matter the distance and no matter the time.

 

**** I should mention, this post is a shout out to my oldest nephew who turns 15 today.  I can still remember the day you were born like it was yesterday, and everyday since has been a blessing because you are here!  Love you DJS4

 

 

Mile High Club

Don’t get to excited – this isn’t a sexy twenty-something stewardess’ blog. This is a mommy blog.  So when I say I am a proud member of the Mile High Club, yes I want to insinuate that I have done shocking things in an airplane bathroom and lived to tell about it.  However, what I am referring to revolves around a child pooping.

On our flight up to Ohio, the boys were perfect angels.  They snacked, read books, watched Frozen.  Associate A napped and Associate P made me very proud by going pee pee in the tiny airplane bathroom.  Since we were toward the back of the plane, we used the facility at the back. I left the door open and stood in the doorway holding associate A so I could help associate P and block the view of his cute little exposed butt.

As we exited the plane, people complimented my children’s behavior and I smiled, unsurprised.  “Thank you.  They are good boys,” wanting them to think they were like that all the time.

Mile High Club

Unfortunately, it would be an entirely different experience on our flight home. Not only was the plane larger, but it was nearly sold out.  There were bad thunderstorms and turbulence, forcing people to stay in their seats for most of the first hour of the flight.  We were of course seated toward the middle just a few rows from the middle bathrooms.

Associate A was already a hot mess because his lovie did not make it onto the flight with us.  When we removed him and lovie from the car and packed up the carseat to check it, lovie accidentally got placed in the carseat bag.  I of course didn’t realize this until we were nice and cozy in our seats, and there was absolutely nothing I could do to get it for him.  He must have screamed “LOOOOVVVIEEEEE” for 20 minutes straight, before moving on through the stages of grief over the remainder of the 2 1/2 hour flight.

Associate P then threw me for a loop, deciding that after about a month straight of being obsessed with Frozen and asking to watch it all the time, today was the day he’d had enough.  He didn’t want to watch the nice move that would occupy the vast majority of our flight, and keep both his and Associate A’s attention.  No, today he wanted to play games on the ipad.  If it were just he and I flying, fine.  Or if I’d had brought two ipad’s, fine, each kid could have their own.  But there is no way I could let him play, without Associate A wanting to try and play.  Which just results in Associate P pushing him away and screaming no, and associate A pushing back… and so on and so on.

So I try my sales pitch on Cars and the 3 other feature films I had loaded up ready to go. He wasn’t buying it.  We negotiated to Mighty Machines episodes, but I knew that the 20 minute episodes wouldn’t induce the long lasting zombie-like state I was hoping for.

After two episodes, eating every snack I’d brought and sucking down every last drop of water we had, I knew it would be time for a potty break.  I asked Associate P if he had to go potty, and he responded “Yes Mommy – I have to go poopies!”

Oh no.  Oh God.  No this can’t be happening.  My child is a poop-at-home kind of kid.  He has pooped out in public maybe 5 times SINCE HE WAS BORN.  Even as a baby, he’d hold it when out and about, saving the sweet release for the comfort of his own changing table.  To make matter worse, when he does poop it is kind of a production.  “Hold my hand mommy. Read me another book, Mommy.”  It is not uncommon for us to spend 10 minutes in the bathroom when his duty calls.

Complete panic set it….for Him.  Once I mentioned the option of potty, it became a RIGHT NOW urgency for his little body.  I had no time to panic or think, I simply unbuckled them both and stood up.  Associate A was overjoyed to be let free of the seat and squirmed and wiggled until I let him walk, not be carried, up the aisle.

The small size of the bathroom seemed shocking at first.  I wanted to ask a stewardess, “Are the regulation size facilities?” or inquire if there was a larger restroom in first class.  Alas, there was no time.  Associate P wiggles in and he gets to the business of pulling his pants down while I attempt to pick up Associate A and close the teeny tiny folding door.

Associate A is angry and doesn’t understand why I won’t let him stand on the sticky pee covered floor in the tiny bathroom.  Associate P struggles with his pants and I struggling with his increasingly violent brother to get a hand free to help pull the britches down and place my sweet child’s bum on the nasty airplane seat.   What if he  catches herpes??? At this point Associate A is crawling up my body and banging against the walls, door and mirror.

Associate P performs as expected.  Straining and pushing in dramatic form, letting farts rip and giggles follow.  Begging for a story.  I keep insisting there is no time for stories, he needs to do a quick poopie this time, other people need to use the bathroom.  “Oh Mommy, you are so silly.  This isn’t a quick Poopie.”

By now, Associate A discovered the sink and has put together that there should be water in it.  He screams for “WATER WATER WATER” and I cave, and let him start “washing his hands” …. i.e. soak us all with his excited splashes.  This has the unfortunately side affect of making me now have to go to the bathroom.  Great.

With one arm strapping Associate A to my hip, I wipe Associate P’s bottom and stand him up.  I pull my britches down and sit for my business placing Associate A on my lap and with my free hand helping P get his pants up.  In a moment of clarity I think about all the times at home I’ve had to pee with a baby on my lap as wonderful practice helping me survive this insane effort I find myself in now.

Associate P begins to wash his hands, which sets off Associate A to wiggle and scream for his turn at “WATER WATER WATER.”   With P at my feet I have to hoist Associate A up higher almost on my shoulder in order for me to stand up so he isn’t kicking his brother in the face.  Instead his legs are kicking the door and his hands grabbing at my hair and face.

Somehow, I mange to pull my britches up and put the seat cover down.  I place A on standing on the seat and then flush.  That was a mistake.  The loud noise and vibrations set him off into a full on panic cry.  I attempt to wash my hands while he tries to monkey crawl back onto my body.  I look in the mirror and vow to walk out of here with my dignity.  I am going to pretend like no one could hear our commotion.  I am going to calmly talk my boys back to our row and sit down like that was the easiest potty break ever done.

I open the door and smile calmly at the 3 people waiting in a line that has since formed, and then try to head up the aisle to our seats.  The one gentleman is holding back laughs, I can tell, and the others offer sympathetic smiles back.  I’m greeted by a Stewardess who nicely asks if everything is alright, and I tell her I would be so grateful for a few more of those delicious cinnamon cookies if she didn’t mind.

We slouch in our seat and the cries for Lovie begin again.  It feels like a lifetime before she returns with the cookies.  When she finally does, I sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet as my two little angels happily stuff their mouths.  I did it.

As I ponder the ridiculous situation I just survived, naturally I also ponder how impossible it would be to get two grown adults in there together, let alone how absolutely disgusting it would be to actually have sex in an airplane bathroom. I am convinced, more than ever, that the traditional Mile High Club is an impossible dream.   However, what I just lived through is reality for probably hundreds of mommies everyday, just trying to take a trip with their Associates.  We are the real Mile High Club members!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

helped a toddler take his sweet time with a poopie, while holding another younger toddler

 

what is joy if it is unrecorded. What is Love of it is not shared. – call the midwife

Feeling like a Supermom

It has been an exciting few weeks here at Rudloff Inc. and I really wanted to write a few posts and document all the fun we had before it leaves my mind.  For the most part, I am on mommy cloud nine with the success of two flights alone with my Associates, a great week in Ohio, a family trip to Walt Disney World and Associate P’s birthday.

The thing is, these amazing experiences don’t just happen.  As a mom, we spend the countless hours worrying about details, packing lists, and logistics for days if not weeks before.   There may be a mom out there who just wings it, but I haven’t met her yet.

Many late nights and early mornings may have me a little hysterical, but when I look back at all we did over the last few weeks, I can’t help but feel a great sense of accomplishment.  We did it.  I did it.  And we had fun doing it.

I don’t like to throw around the word “Supermom”, but let’s just say Associate P isn’t the only one pretending he has a cape on today.  I am going to embrace this feeling of invincibility while it lasts, because I know any moment now I’ll snap out of it and realize I have washed but not folded clothes for two weeks straight, and have Mt. Saint Underpants waiting for me to climb next.

And for those of you who are interested, in the coming days I will post a few of the highlights and even share the humor that was in the darker moments of our travel.

So for all you supermom’s who have felt the glorious glow of successful family trips and events – I salute you.  This was a busy and tiring month, stressful at times, but overall joyous.  And worth every sleeplessness night last month :)

 

 

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