Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Monday Momfessions: Week of July 14

This week is for the BoyMoms out there:

1. We have a new carpool. It includes anywhere from 1-5 roly polys who make the trek from daycare to pre-school. I'm unsure of their names as their heads are always buried in my son's palm, but they are quiet and don't demand food, so I welcome them.

2. I laughed when my oldest stuck one of those long lighters between his legs and said: "Look Ma - a light up penis!" This is a) not the appropriate reaction as he WILL do it time when the neighborhood is over or our preschool parent friends who still might believe we're ok parents b) I was so tired that evening I was letting him use it as a sword (don't judge) c) it's likely still every man's dream to truly have a light up man part. I mean, they saw it in Magic Mike and just won't let it go...

3. By accidentally purchasing them similar toothbrushes, potential sharing could be occurring. Ew.

4. A friend of our Big's drew of picture of "Lawson's Mommy," the sketch featuring a set of "fat arms." Big L is still mad at him for it, all on his own, and this is why I love him. I get the feeling boys will almost always have their moms' backs. Or in this case, their fat arms.

5. The amount of nakey time is increasing around the household. I'm not sure if it's kosher to let a 4-year old sleep in the nude, but hey, it makes him happy. Also if we don't have guests over, why not at the dinner table once in awhile? Of note: please knock before dropping by the hours between 5-7 p.m.

6. There may be no limit to how many shoes or booties I have to endure the smell of on a daily basis. Gah help me. Also, I hear the bar chart on this only grows taller on the stickiness to frequency ratio. Today's instance after Keen removal: "Mommy - just SMELL it. I'll smell yours!" P.U.

7. Flirting with girls already exists. Those two have game. They are one and four. This week two classmates have confessed to me they are the Big's girlfriends. One has confirmed her marriage to him. Again, gah help me.

8. In the moment there was an ounce of silence in our home this week, the following occurred: a) a toddler had scaled a gate to the top of the stairs b) a preschooler was writing in permanent marker on a table c) a toddler was drinking out of the dog dish d) a preschooler was attempting to suffocate the toddler in a loving manner. In other words, silence is not golden if you have boys. Or maybe just small children in general.

9. If your husband once lovingly slaps your behind in the kitchen and it is spotted by a son, that too will soon magically become a love language of your boy. And it will be awkward.

10. Hitting, grunting, demanding, screaming, cold staring, arm crossing, boycotting and incessantly pointing all mean the same thing to boys. "Mommy - take care of it. And do it now."

And though there are slivers of moments when I'm at a friend's daughters dance recital, sitting at a salon where bitties are getting their toes done or weeping over that dang father/daughter date night thing on YouTube, I wouldn't trade my boys for the world.

They're my boys. And I'm their BoyMom. And they are the best things that's happened to me yet.

So, moms of boys, what odd things have you found in their pockets this week? Or have you been too busy at the ER?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Family, Friends, Food, Fun and Fireworks: The Fourth

"Mommy - what state are we in now?" the oldest asked, the iPad balancing precariously between his knobby knees. Ten minutes had passed and the highway stretch was still within miles of our home, but his little heart could hardly contain the excitement. And we agreed - getting to MN quickly to see our family we'd been missing for months was something worth speeding about:

Nearly the entire Esslinger crew

A fabulous aunt who takes little boys swimming by 7 a.m.
A great aunt fun enough to take him on his first bumper car experience
Brunch with a lifelong friend

Sister relaxation time 
A brave little dude who survived the log ride
The Choates and Esslingers with beloved Grandma and Grandpa
Little L sauntering up mid photo shoot to have a moment with GG

Boys getting rowdy at the falls
My big boy made it to the fireworks
The little entertainer

And master of the fork

Glancing at the sky upon our arrival with a big note of thanks, we quickly settled in with our rock star mini travelers and made friends with my aunt's deck and caught up on new times, the boys immediately taking to the trampoline and wandering her beautiful backyard. Day two meant a mani and pedi get away for me and the sis followed by several trips downtown to beloved haunts and ending the day at a unique and tasty restaurant with the fan. The fourth started with a delicious brunch of secret syrup and catching up with lifelong friends, then enjoying an evening of first time sparklers and gorgeous displays upon hilltops that lit up the sky. Our last full day included Big L's first time at an amusement park complete with a deep dive in the log ride, and ended with a big bash at our aunt's with the chance to share laughter, joy and stories until the night grew a deep navy. Each of these nights also contained some marvel for me, wondering how I got so incredibly lucky to be part of such a loving, fun and truly caring family and finding celebration and joy in each minute of it.

The final morning included the tradition of catching breakfast at Grandma's, the familiarity of the calm pond, same bedspreads, familiar kitchen and smell of toasted bread filling every crevice of my heart. And pulling away? Broad smiles, waves out rolled down windows and intense gratitude and sadness in our departure.

May your fourth be as filled with family, friends food, fun and fireworks as ours. Boom!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Big 4-0

No, not me, silly. These two!:
June 22, 1974 - Wedding day for John and Roxanne
The most amazing, selfless, remarkable, wise and loving parents a girl and her brother could have. And now they are celebrating 40 years of marriage together, setting the bar on what love looks like through thick and thin, in times of awesomeness and near despair and with the many ebbs and flows that come on the journey.

When asked the about their secret to making it to this milestone anniversary, they shared:

I honestly am not sure if there is really  "secret sauce" when it comes to a happy, successful marriage and will never claim to be experts, but a short list of characteristics that may make a marriage likely to last could include:   

 1. Agree on common values-- about child raising, finances for example
 2.  Respect-  demonstrate this by making big decisions together
 3. Honesty-  don't' deceive or withhold important information
 4. Communicate--- often; and listen (seek to understand, especially to understand intent)
 5. Be human-- admit when you have made a mistake and apologize, sooner rather than later
 6. Be realistic-- there is no such thing as a perfect marriage
 7. Promote the importance of family to your offspring and come together often

And you know what? They live this. 

It's all coming together now, their awesomeness, their love, their fearless in navigating as something as wonderful and challenging as marriage.

May we all find this kind of love and friendship for 40 years and more.

Congrats Mom and Dad - this is truly something to celebrate and be proud of! 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Monday Momfessions: June 25 Week

This post is dedicated to The Second Child...and those of you lowering the bar with number two:

With the second child:
1. The curling iron (not recently used) becomes fair game to function as a toy. Same goes for Daddy's belt. Nail polish bottles. Trash cans. Gold clubs. Etc. After all, it can result in actually getting your teeth brushed and a comb through your hair without someone requiring a bandaid.

2. Clothes no longer remotely match and are really only acceptable if they can double as pajamas. Mama ain't got time for anything other than that.

3. Criteria for calling the pediatrician's office look more like "bone sticking out" or "may require stitches" vs. the first sniffle or cough. Tylenol, Motrin and Benadryl are also closer friends than they used to be.

4. Activities such as swim lessons or tee ball suddenly don't start until the age 5. Meanwhile, incriminating evidence shows your first starting at six months.

5. Speaking of pictures - when are you gonna get some frames that include the new fourth member?

6. Of course you can eat that Veggie Straw off the floor, share toast with your friend, lick the playground equipment and touch the public stall door.

7. The thought of "well, that's really different than the first one" occur daily, even though you know it shouldn't. It just sneaks in there.

8. Missing a school event doesn't automatically earn you a scarlett letter and you become more comfortable with: "I mean, he won't really remember anything before 5, right?"

9. Bologna and one of brother's french fry with a side of a strawberry totally count as dinner.

10. If a nearby stranger in a salon seems gut trustworthy, go ahead and hand them the second while you finish up that shoulder massage.

What doesn't change with the second: the undeniable, all-consuming, unconditional love for this remarkable child.

Love you bunches sweet boy and hope you feel the same...even when I tell you later in life you ate off the floor. Love - Mom

Workin' on Commission

"I don't know - how do we motivate him but still hold up to expectations we have on him contributing to the family and caring for the home?" I asked, slightly in wonder as I considered my gifts to the home have been severely lacking since bringing two little boys home.

Recently, Big L had come to us requesting a Nerf gun, and this time, instead of caving on a Target run, we decided it was time to implement a plan. We dug back into our archives of Dave Ramsey days and landed on:

Commission based pay.

Yep - that's right. These two parents who let their children draw on the walls are getting' real.

After input from a few friends and a quick dive into Pinterest, we threw out three mason jars and marked them Save, Spend and Give. Each week, Big L has the option of completing his chores or not and whatever level he desires. From there, we as his supervisors (ha), determine how well he did, considering if he completed them daily and the quality of work. From there, he has the chance to earn up to five dollars a week. His current chores include: make his bed, feed the pets, pick up all toys, put clothes in hamper, clear the table and put shoes on rug. There are other expectations of him, but these we chose because they are the most consistent in the workflow of our home (hello - how many times do you run about the house in the a.m. cursing for those shoes?!). To chart, we landed on this:

A simple, customized printout we can slap on his closet door weekly and he can proudly mark with Crayola.

Each week he's required to put some in each jar of Save, Spend or Give. As you can imagine, the spend one tends to fill up a bit faster than the others. So far he's motivated by this, is having fun and feels proud of how he's giving back to his family and plays a part in it all.

Here's hoping it sticks -and that we can keep up with the commission!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

On the List

With the official start of summer coming up this week (though we've been operating on summer time for well over a month), our family sat down to get serious about our need to slow down and really enjoy the longer days together at home and beyond. Here's what we came up with:

Well, Lawson, Daddy and I did. We're pretty sure as long as milk, food and stair climbing are involved, Liam is in...

I can't wait to see how far we get and sneak in some sleeping in (ha!), deck lounging, reading and ice cream eating in between. I'd also like to steal my hubby away a night or two for camping out at Park Place, catching a flick or just having adult conversation patio side at a new restaurant.

What's on your list?

Over the Moon for Moon and Lola

"Oh-me-gggaahhh!" I squealed, sounding remarkably like the four and five year old girls I encounter at preschool drop off. "It's a CUSTOM.JEWELRY.MONOGRAM.STORE!"

Practically dragging my friend J by the arm who was suckered into what could turn into an all out gush fest over the goods, we parted with the other two and my plotting, planning and "awwww"ing began. I mean, with the ability to monogram just about any piece of jewelry in the place, where was a girl to start?!

In our few minutes in Moon and Lola in Charleston, we'd been greeted and doted on by darling southern girls willing to cope with my spastic excitement, purchase paralysis and need for visualization. For nearly an hour after I had selected a simple gold bangle that required customized charms, we played, laying item after item in the smooth velvet tray, slipping it on and off our wrists while glancing in the mirror. And though I desired every set of monogrammed studs, rings, bar jewels with my boys' birthdays, etc. to come home with me, I landed on the following:

The yellow gold cuff bracelet with collate charms in "L," and "M", a Dalton charm in "L, a clear acrylic charm with a gold silhouette of a little boy and a medium acrylic C to top it off.


Durable, custom and fabulous, I wear the thing practically daily, housing the first initials of all the great men in my life. You know, in case I ever forget...

A girl could go bananas here. So do it! Get on and treat yourself. I hope you'll find yourself as over the moon for them as I do.

Happy monogramming!