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This is Four

8 Aug

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My boy recently turned four.  It blows my mind how fast time passes when you have kids.  I thought I’d take the opportunity to write a bit about my little boy in honor of this milestone.

So far, four is a fun, playful and exhausting age.  His emotions swing wildly and without warning, where one moment he’ll be an invincible superhero, and the next he is collapsing on the floor in tears if I don’t give him his way.

I like the superhero phase.  It is so much better than the princess phase my daughter went through.  He believes he has superpowers.  He believes he can do anything.   He believes in good and evil, and that it is his job to defeat all the bad guys in the world.  I wish that the princesses of this world were more like superheroes with pretty dresses.

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I am getting used to doing everything with a superhero.  I never know what superhero I will be picking up from preschool, and I often have a superhero tagging along and protecting me as I go grocery shopping or bike riding.  It is so fun to see people’s reactions to my little superhero.  I wish I could freeze time, as I love how confident and invincible he is, yet he isn’t ashamed to hold my hand or cuddle me.

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My boy is an athlete.  He takes to new sports naturally and with a complete sense of determination.  How many four year olds do you know that have been biking on two wheels for over a year and have taken naturally to mountain biking, hanging in bike parks and hopping off curbs in the neighborhood?  He also swims like a fish without any sense of fear.  That is my boy.  It excites me and terrifies me.  This week, he did a face plant on the cement after hopping off a curb.  He cried, bled a ton, and after I cleaned him up, he wanted to go right back out on his bike and hop off more curbs.

It is amazing what a dose of testosterone will do to a preschooler.  I swear my daughter would have sworn off biking for years if she had experienced such a crash.

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My boy starts preschool full time next week.  It boggles my mind, as I swear it was just yesterday that I was wearing him in a carrier and changing his diapers.  He is so fun.  He is so challenging.  I swear his best superpower is the ability to break my concentration and my sense of calm with one of his many tantrums.  But on days like today, when he crawled into bed with me just before my alarm went off because he wanted to cuddle, it makes up for those tantrums.  I think it would be better to be able to hold his hand and cuddle him (despite the crazy fits) than to have him be a grumpy teenager that thinks I’m not a fellow superhero and just an annoying mom who doesn’t know ANYTHING.

So belated happy birthday, my boy.  I love you to the moon and back and you make me so happy.  I will tell you that every day of your life (at least until you go to college and stop talking to me every day.)

Be Still My Heart

18 Jul

I cannot tell you how much joy this picture brings me.

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This is my daughter, who at 18 months developed a crippling fear of the water. With swimming being my favorite hobby and sport, I can’t tell you how frustrating this was for me. She would literally get into the fetal position and cry like she was dying when I put her in the pool at that age.

What she didn’t know is that I am one stubborn Mamma. I was not going to allow for my child to be afraid of the water. My daughter would love the water, I pledged.

It took years of work. I found that she was mainly hysterical when I tried to teach her to swim, so I signed up for pricey swim lessons despite the fact that I had taught swim lessons myself for many years.

I kept exposing her to the water, and eventually, she fell in love with it. This past year, I decided she was ready for swim team. She passed try outs with flying colors, and has been absolutely in love with swimming and swim team this entire summer.

She has participated in two meets, and I tell you, it’s like a dream come true for me. There were many days I doubted that my daughter would develop an affinity for the sport of swimming. But she has. She is good at it, and more importantly, she loves it.

Being at the swim meet, I am in my element. I know exactly where she needs to be and when for her races. I know about how much time we have in between events so that I can take her into the adjacent indoor pool to have her practice a few skills. I am able to coach her. (This is in stark contrast to when she did gymnastics last year, as that is WAY outside my element.) Being at the meets and working with her makes me remember how much I truly enjoyed coaching. And now I have my own little swimmer who eagerly awaits my coaching.

I don’t know how long this will last. I don’t know how serious she’ll be about swimming. But for now, I love that our free time can be spent together at the pool, where she listens to my instruction, and respects my knowledge as a swimmer. I love how my chest swells with pride as I see her step up to the blocks, and how she smiles when she hears me cheering for her. Swimming was so good for me as a child. It taught me discipline, exercise, nutrition, goal setting and gave me a great network of friends. Here’s to hoping that my daughter will have the same experience.

Garbage Truck Monday

19 Jun

Monday is my son’s favorite day of the week. It is Garbage Truck Day, which is like a holiday to him, and he anxiously waits for our garbage truck to arrive at the house. Recycling day makes it twice as exciting! Our garbage men are so familiar with my son running out to watch them that they make quite a show of waving to him and honking as they drive by.

This past Monday, my son happened to be getting dressed when the garbage truck arrived at our house. He promptly ran out the front door in nothing but his socks and underwear, waving with enthusiasm to our friendly garbage men.

Oh, how I wished I had my camera for this. May we all live life with abandon and do the things we love without worrying about what other people will think or say!

Run or Dye… Or Wait Until You Die…

3 Jun

Color Run

On Saturday, I took Little Man along with me to meet up with one of my best friends and her to kids to do Run or Dye at the University of Nevada, Reno campus.  This was our second color run.  We did Color Me Rad in the Fall, when I attempted to have my daughter run, but ended up with her running out of steam at about mile 2, and I had to kick the 3 year old out of the stroller and onto my back so that I could push my daughter.  Hefting 100 pounds of kids isn’t my idea of fun, so I told my daughter she couldn’t do another 5K with me until she trained…  Which she chose not to do.

Anyway, I digress.  I was excited to run the 5K, as I haven’t run one since my knee injury, and the UNR course is hilly, so I knew it’d be challenging.  We arrived 15 minutes prior to start time, and I hurried to adjust my laces and get my son strapped into the stroller.  We lined up, and everyone was happily throwing colored powder at each other, which was mildly entertaining.  And we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  At one point, my friend said, “I think they’re letting 10 people go at a time.”  She wasn’t far off.

We ended up having to wait with our kids (two 3 year olds and one 1 year old) for almost 2 hours.  It was ridiculous.  And have you ever tried waiting with three young kids standing in the hot sun without any food or entertainment for them?  Torture.  It was so bad that my friends were ready to bail after waiting 1.5 hours.

When we FINALLY got to start running, I was amazed at the people who only ran about 100 yards.  I’ve always had a rule with myself that I won’t do a 5K run unless I can run the entire time without stopping.  But the culture around 5K runs has changed in recent years.  99% of the people tend to walk, and they walk slowly, spreading out all across the course with no regard to having slow people stay on the right.  It was challenging for me to maneuver the jogging stroller around all of the walkers, and I had fun telling my son, “look how fast your Mom is!” as I tore past all those walkers.  I had him convinced by the end of the race that he had a “sports car stroller” and we “won” the race together.  It was also an ego boost for me as I ran past all the high school and college students.  I heard one young guy complaining about a hill as he walked up it.  I ran by him saying, “yeah, try pushing 45 pounds up this hill!”

 

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Anyway, we headed straight from the run to the outdoor pool, which was our first pool outing of the summer.  Let the warm weather activities begin!  I had so much fun swimming with the kiddos this weekend, and am excited to see how much they will progress in the pool!

For those of you contemplating a color run, I would recommend Color Me Rad over Run or Dye.  Run or Dye was a disorganized mess if you ask me!

 

Chaos. Utter Chaos.

17 May

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So we got a dog.  A puppy.  Because life wasn’t chaotic enough with my full time job and two young kids.  Whose idea was this?!

Mine, of course.   There haven’t been many years in my life where I haven’t had a dog.  Since meeting my husband, we went from having three large black dogs that we dubbed the Black Dog Club, and over the years, the club dwindled down to our dear Shadow, who passed in December.

It just felt a bit lonely, and the kids really wanted a dog.  I truly think it is good for kids to grow up with a dog.  So, the negotiating began between me and JB…  First was the negotiation of the breed of dog, on which we had very differing opinions, except when it came to his suggestion of a Rottweiler.  When I met JB, he had an awesome Rottweiler named Heidi, and I fell in love with that dog.  She died when my daughter was a baby.

Anyway, last week, we finally decided to get a 5 month old Rottweiler puppy.  Of course, then the negotiations on names began.  JB was adamant he wanted to name her Elsa, and I wanted to name her Bella, so we compromised after about 48 hours of stand-offs and named her Ella Bella.

The first week, she was super well behaved and we were concerned at how calm she was.  Ha!  She has now made herself at home, and the chaos has ensued.  Potty training a dog with kids in the house is just awesome…  Like when my son locks her in his room or mine and then she messes in there.  This morning, even though she had peed and pooped outside, as I was getting ready, the dog peed and pooped upstairs with the kids.

She loves to eat my daughter’s toys.  She loves to chew on long, flowing dresses as you walk by, which is the dress of choice for my daughter, so this has caused many tears.

Last night, I had a neighbor come visit.  A neighbor who never had kids, but loves them.  I was a bit embarrassed at her seeing the reality of my life right now…  That I fed the kids while unloading groceries, and made dinner for myself,  but every time I tried to sit down to eat it, someone needed something from me, or the dog got into something, etc.  I swear I sat down to eat my dinner about five times and was interrupted before I could actually sit and consume it.  I tried to have a conversation with this dear neighbor as my daughter attempted to do homework (needing tons of help) and my son was, well being a 3 year old boy with tantrums and demands slung into the midst of our conversation.  Add to that the dog jumping on the furniture and running around with toys, and I swear I couldn’t finish a single thought without being interrupted and having to go intervene in some…  SITUATION.

I am literally exhausted.  A few weeks ago, I started to wonder is something wrong with me? Why am I exhausted all the time?  But then the voice of reason kicks in, and I remind myself how much is on my plate.  It is everything I ever wanted, and I know I will look back and miss these years when they pass, but having two young kids and a full time job and volunteering at school and in the community and trying to keep in shape and cook healthy meals…  It is a lot.  I think back to my days in college where my only responsibility was myself, and laugh at how I thought I was busy then.  Almost every day this week, I have fallen asleep while tucking a kid into their bed, and I then stumble down to my own bed, just to start it all over the next morning.

I wouldn’t trade it for a thing.  I love having my plate full.  I just wish I could clone myself!  Here is a picture of my full plate…  How did I ever get so lucky?!

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The State of My Car

15 Feb

Before I had kids, my car was my pride and joy. When I was 25, I was working for General Motors, and saved up my money to buy a Trans Am Ram Air. I custom ordered it, knowing every option that I want on the car. I knew the day it arrived at the dealer, and called the dealer to inform them when I would be picking it up. I LOVED that car.

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Six speed, manual transmission, 320 horsepower, custom exhaust and T-tops. That car was sweet. I would spend time almost every weekend washing, waxing, polishing the wheels, vacuuming, Armor-alling the interior, and conditioning the leather seats. My car was in pristine conditions at all times.

And then I had a kid.

And I soon discovered the car wasn’t horribly amenable to my new Mom lifestyle. So I sold it, and got what I call a Mom Car.

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And it is pretty cool for a Mom Car. The problem is I have two little gremlins I drive around a lot, and I have absolutely NO time to clean the car. Every once in a while, it will develop what I call the “Mom Stench”. The Mom Stench is a mystery smell that fouls the inside of my car, and it takes a treasure hunt to discover the source.

“Don’t feed the kids in the car,” my husband says. Sure, easy for him to say. Our weekends are usually spent with me ferrying the kids to fun activities, grocery stores, etc., and when they’re hungry, this schedule comes to a grinding halt. So yes, I feed them in the car. And sometimes a sippy cup rolls under the seat, or a gogurt container gets flung without my knowledge, and stews and ferments until my whole car smells.

Plus, every time I pick up the kids from school, they come with armloads of art and accoutrements. Although I always say, “bring your stuff in” as I am trying to haul in my own stuff, it often gets left. So I am left with spare socks, gravel from shoes, doll clothes, art, and just trash in general. I try to keep up with it, I really do. And if you saw the state of my car before I had kids, you’d know how much this really bothers me, but it just seems like a losing battle.

And it’s like twisting the knife in my heart when my husband says, “your car is a pig sty.”

I sometimes pony up for a mobile detailer to come to my work, and clean up the mess that has now become my car, but it doesn’t seem to last long before the car just gets soiled.

I think my car is a symptom of a busy life. I’m treading water, trying to keep my head up, and sometimes, things like cleaning the car and monitoring what the kids are doing to it in the backseat are things that fall through the cracks.

So please don’t judge me if you get in my car and smell the Mom Stench. Believe me, I smell it, too, and it is the bain of my existence.

A Valentine For My Past Self

14 Feb

I read a great article on the Huffington Post yesterday about a woman writing a letter to her past self regarding Valentine’s Day. I thought it was such a great idea that I’m writing one to myself.

This is the recipient intended for this note:

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Dear 16 Year Old Lynnette,

Happy Valentine’s Day! I can’t remember this specific Valentine’s Day for you, but I remember this holiday used to be a BIG DEAL for you. There was always excitement that you’d receive a surprise Valentine, or that the current boy of interest would get romantically inspired for the big day.

It often didn’t work out that way. I remember many Valentine’s Days where you pined away, just dreaming of the time in your life where you will have a Valentine, and imagining those days as romantic, with candlelight dinners, chocolate, flowers, and yes, perhaps some jewelry or poetry.

You will have Valentine’s Days where you get sweet sentiments from guys that are just NOT very exciting for you, and there will be a few Valentine’s Days with unrequited efforts, where you will be utterly depressed.

Do you know who your best Valentine of all times will be? Your Mom. There is a woman that remembered you every year, and gave you quite the care packages even when you lived far from home. There was also your Dad, who brought you one flower every Valentine’s Day, but the fact that you knew you could rely on that one flower each year you lived at home with him is a special memory for you now.

So what are your Valentine’s Days like now that you have that permanent Valentine? Not at all like you imagined. Your Valentine is proud that he isn’t a “sucker for that marketing scam”, and he doesn’t see much of a need for romantic gestures after making that one huge gesture of marrying you. But hey, he’s there, he’s opening a special bottle of wine, and you aren’t going to be lonely.

What is really special about the Valentine’s Days of your future, though, is your kids. Like your daughter, who made you multiple Valentines, and professes her love for you daily. The same girl that dressed in a tutu, heart tights, a heart shirt, and 80s style pink gloves for the occasion. And then there is your son, who isn’t sure he wants to give away his Transformer Valentines, and is covered in the Transformer tattoos and heart stickers that came with the Valentines he picked out at the store.

The Valentine’s Day of your future is busy, but fun, and not nearly as romantic and dreamy as you imagined, but much more sustainable and real.

So keep smiling, and rest assured that you’ll have to spend a lot less time on your hair in the future, and know that the dress you’re wearing in that picture will be the last hand-sewn dress your Mom will make for you because you will complain about it too loudly. You should just bite your tongue and realize what a treasure those handmade dresses really are.

Love,

Future Self

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