Sunday, August 16, 2015

Monday Momfessions: The "Temporary Single Parent" Version

When I first learned my husband was setting out on a journey to better our family by studying for a tough exam and earning his promotion, I had visions of pre-prepped meals ready for his 10 minutes of daily freedom, smiling children who left him notes of encouragement, and kindness and understanding from our many one-sided conversations during these seven weeks. Here's how it really went:

1. Chicken nugget dinner count: approximately 3 times weekly. With fries or tots and no vegetables. Likely dessert as bribery. Also, Lunchables. So many Lunchables.

2. Weeping. Them. Me. In corners. On highways. Over the phone. With strangers. So much weeping.

3. Speaking of weeping: if you were driving SMP on a Sunday and saw a Mom slumped over her wheel in a Fritz's cardboard hat, that was me.  I may have been trying to put my foot down on the calypso/Kindermusik obsession in the car 24/7. This was on day 41. You know who won...

4. Lots of leaning on the village, especially in the form of two grandparents. For venting and relief pitching.

5. Plans with friends - so we could all stay sane and love one another.

6. Key phrases: "Pull your pants up." "Put it away." "Wait until I share that report with Daddy." "Daddy is studying." "Yes Daddy will still be grumpy. Mommy too." "Mommy's doing the best she can." "We'll have to wait for Daddy to fix that." "Where do we keep the pans?" "One shoes seems good enough." "When is the last time you brushed your teeth?"Why are you doing that?" "Why are you doing that?" "WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT?! YOU WOULDN'T DO THAT FOR DADDY!" And so on.

7. Surprisingly, significant anger from our gentle one at bedtime. A boy gains so much benefit from the warmth, love and wrestling of his father.

8. Letting strangers tie shoes, hold your items in the checkout line, give you a knowing glance, wipe sweat from your brow, push your child in a swing, etc. Ah, the kindness of strangers.

9. Injuries. Broken toe, bruises and aching ego. Now on the Kindle: "Raising a Spirited Child." (To be clear, these were mommy injuries after a certain toddler couldn't quite find his words so used other objects to show how he felt). Related: illnesses that required hospitalization for the wee ones. Of course. Grateful everyone is on the mend!

10. Bitterness: like stare in the dark of the poor man who had just studied until 2 a.m. and consider placing a poopy diaper under his pillow kind of death stare.

Isn't that shameful?!

Don't get me wrong: the past two months have been wrought with awesome moments, watching our toddler's vocabulary blossom, the way he dances down to breakfast in the morning and the warmest hugs at the end of the day. And the oldest? So incredibly helpful without being asked, remarkable art skills and such deep conversations you think you're chatting with a 20-something.

I still haven't quite digested or let myself sit silently to let the disappointment of who I was as a mother and spouse these last several weeks. I do remember nearly daily feeling like I wasn't competent, didn't have the tools and was failing miserably as a parent. After all, my pals with traveling spouses, actually doing it as a single parent or with traditional roles make it look like a piece of cake. Meanwhile, I was crumbling each evening...and that's working full-time, having only been with my kids about 3-5 hours a day. Ashamed. I feel totally ashamed.

At the end of each day, water welled behind my eyes, the need to apologize to each child feeling like a heavy weight on my chest. Then they'd look at me and tell a joke, ask for another book, snack or water and in that moment I'd know: they felt loved. They still felt loved.

And that, my friends, is all I could ask for.

To all the parents out there who have or are doing it singly - whether it's always, sometimes or somewhere in between: you're amazing. I will never know how you do it all with such grace and confidence, but I can only hope to grow and learn from such a gracious human being as you. And may you always know that at the end of your days, it's love that counts. And you are loved.

And to Daddy: we wouldn't change a thing. We are so proud of you have always been incredibly grateful for you. Now having walked even more miles in your shoes, it's tenfold. We love you.

It's Our Anniversary

Nine years! Maybe, like 12?!

Before you go judging me about my marriage, please note I'm referring to what should be a national holiday, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Now you can judge me...

This year was shiny and bright like all the rest. A bit anxious about arriving early enough to snatch a much-desired MK bag and slightly thrown off by the 10 a.m. start time (scoff - used to be 8 a.m.), I parked my hiney in handbags and took an hour-long conference call. A girls' gotta do what a girls' gotta do for her leathers you know. After purchasing this delicious item, there were several others:
Michael Kors Essex hobo in Dark Dune: perfect for tucking away diapers
while still looking like a classy, working lady. Make it over the shoulder
or across the body and buttery soft! Don't forget the matching wallet.

Haolson leath pale pink flats - so comfortable with some character!
BP multi snake print flats - they go with everything and are flats -
need I say more?!

Kicks for back to school - swoon!
I also scored a darling tunic that looked *just* like a certain birthday girl we were celebrating too for less than $30. And let's face it, if that money tree hadn't blown over in the early summer storms, the list would've been longer and the trunk a lot fuller.

You've done it again Nordy's, just as you do day after day. Thank you for feeding all of we shoppers' superficial indulgences with your delectable style.

Grab these and more (now in full price) as you prepare for fall. You deserve it!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Emptying the Bucket

Kindergarten starts in less than three weeks. That's right, I went there - 2.5 weeks. Some of my dearest friends are already being all administrative and setting up classrooms as we speak.

When did this happen?

As two parents that work full-time outside of the home, we long to make the whole May-ish through July-ish time try to feel a bit like our summers used to when we were kids. Hours spent in the chlorine, days in the sun, nights crawling around the neighborhood until dark, up past bedtimes, living in flip flops and imagination with friends. Priceless.

So like many crazed parents of the millennium, we made a family list and are attempting to attack it like the final rays of sunshine around 9:30 in the evening. We've made a dent, with some of our favorites being:

Catching a Royals game: ball caps, hot dogs, foul balls and cold beer. What more could a family wish for?

Visiting Scheels: not only is a kid paradise, but adult one! Ferris wheel, fudge factory, Starbucks, aquariums, more Jayhawk gear you can get than anywhere else, bright colors, current footwear and all the brands you love in one place. Not to mention picture posing locations and interactive games sprinkled throughout. Save a day for this one!

Water Balloons: or "ba-ba-boons" as Little calls them. Perhaps the best $10 we spent all summer, each evening is filled with filling balloons, quick tying and new target challenges. Fun for the whole family!

Catching a flick at the drive-in: ridiculously fun and affordable! Grab your chairs, blankets, some friends, a cooler and dinner in a sack and catch the latest movies back to back on the big screen. Be sure you know how to dim your lights before you go (not that I speak from experience).

Splash Cove: perfect for the 10 and under crowd and their grownups, there are several slide options, a mini wave pool and unique ways to splish and splash all day long. Only $6/person!

Time with family: we made the trek to Minnesota and some of them visited here, creating memories we'll never forget. Plus those regular meals with grandparents and growing excited for the boys' first cousin has been a blast. The extended family even made it to a few of Big's baseball games.

The "good stuff" at home: regular dance parties, meals on the patio, porch chairs perched out front with the neighbors, wrestle mania time and even room for quiet things like being creative and imagining. Even better, we're all more equipped to stay up way past our bed time for some reason. Making friendship bracelets may top the list for a certain 5-year old.

Swimming: with varied bedtimes and interest in the water this can be tricky, but we sneak in time to take the big whenever we can. Plus he's rocking swim lessons, doing log rolls in the deep end on his own!

Spending more time at the kids' school: reading books, dropping off treats and attending field trips. Bowling was a blast and their little minds grew exponentially from the museum ventures.

Have an epic vacation: HHI - enough said. We still talk and dream of it daily.

Strawberry picking: at Woheltz Farm just outside of Lawrence. Unique, fun and you can make some killer recipes afterward.

Left on the list to conquer the next two weeks is a trip to the lake, Kenny Chesney concert, Theatre in the Park (Shrek), farmer's market, splash fountains at Loose Park and more time in the water. For Mommy, "Magic Mike XXL" and First Fridays may be in there too, plus getting rid of clutter, which we've made a 11-bag dent in.

How's your summer bucket list coming, friends?