As always…

This EXACT time last year, Isaac was battling an awful stomach bug. And today, Dakota has an ear infection and pink eye in both. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. I have one million things to do at work and where am I? At the doctor, at the pharmacy, here at home, waiting out her nap. Better than while on vacation (next week) but isn’t this always the way? I guess I should also be thankful that my boys aren’t here to contract her eye issue.

My parents got in around lunch Saturday and left by 11 yesterday with my boys. I admit, I had a bit of trouble. The house was so… quiet. I only had to do one small load of laundry and the majority of the time, the baby was either playing calmly or sleeping. I guess the truth of the matter is that more than half my time is spent caring for those boys. I was feeling pretty down, then we watched Game of Thrones, which was also kind of depressing. But according to a friend, last night’s events are necessary for the awesome still to come. I haven’t read past book 1 so I’ll take her word for it!

Sorry this is a short post; I have to care for baby. Happy Monday!

Summer daydreaming

This time of year makes me think of your typical summery things: sprinklers in the yard, sunglasses, warm breezes, cold beer, and grilling out. My father had a basic charcoal grill and sometimes I get a whiff of that smell somewhere in our neighborhood. I am instantly transported to our Hollywood backyard. My dad would be starting the grill with his makeshift coffee can and newspaper chimney, and I’d be running around the spacious yard or hiding under the Persian lime tree. 2ba25495963e7f7d767d98814697bca3


Our tree was huge and had a big dome-like shape so I would climb under and play in the shade. The smell of charcoal floated on the air until it switched to the savory taste of  country-style ribs or hamburgers. Every now and then, we’d eat outside but mostly, I remember climbing the huge sycamore tree, then being called into a big Sunday meal. My parents went all-out on those days: meat, mashed potatoes, corn, salad. We ate as a family almost every night and that really embedded the importance of family meals.


When I was in high school, we moved to Orlando and started going to the July NASCAR race. This was before they added another layer to the stands so we had seats in the top row. In the case of car racing, being higher was better. For the summer race, this was the case because at the top, you got a breeze. Since that one is an evening time start, we used to stay in some little beach motel called The Talisman, eat breakfast, then tailgate at the track all day long. I wasn’t old enough to drink, but the adults did while we grilled and chilled until race time. I remember it being so hot but distracted just enough to ignore the swelter. We’d always get a fly-over and a good race, followed up by amazing fireworks.13e8c3479011b67fcc8d2fd61c1b8008



Lately, my summers equal trips to the beach with the kids and seeing how much they enjoy it. There’s a certain comfort in knowing that we’re helping them build childhood memories that they’ll look back on – hopefully like me – and think fondly of. I love seeing how much they love the water and building sand castles. As they grow, we’ll try skim boarding and shell collecting (on other beaches; St. George, not to much) and other summer beach type things. The goal is to rent a beach house at some point and maybe these memories will morph into extensions of that. I want that so badly, it huts. But for now, plug away at work, bide my time. It will happen.Beach-House-4

Mother and son at odds

Elliot glared at me from across the kitchen. “I WANT cereal.” he bit out, seething. We’d been going back and forth about his tone of voice and morning attitude of late. I was trying to keep my calm – I really was.

“Don’t you look at me like that…” he said, just like I would. And that is when I snapped. I gave him an earful and I just hope one day it sinks in. I feel like each day’s lessons are erased after a night’s sleep. He wakes the next day with no prior knowledge of how to behave.

“You’re almost seven years old, buddy. This has got to stop.”

“I know! But I don’t know how!”

This bothers me more than anything; it’s all impulse. And the worst part is that I can see so much of myself in him. I was that kid – sometimes – who fought just to fight, who tried to win the conversation, not realizing I was actually in a lot of trouble. And I never knew when to shut up. Pair that with a lot of rage and a complete lack of patience and he an I are identical.

In the end, I made him recount what he did wrong – which is super hard, I know – and we hugged. I love that kid fiercely but he pushes me to my absolute limits. For me, it’s this collective realization that he is no longer the laid back baby he once was but is growing into a boy. And it’s not the boy things that annoy me – not the armpit fart sounds or the climbing doorways or the crack running through his veins, causing him to bounce off walls. It’s just the incredible likeness to myself, the mirror image staring back at me, showing me my faults, that kills me, every day.


Friday Confessions/Note to self

I confess… I left a lot of work for myself for this morning and, of course, it isn’t going smoothly at all. Because that is the way this world works, you know.

I confess… when I complain about petty things like that, I feel bad. It could be worse and I should be damn thankful.

I confess… my current favorite Jimmy Buffet song is Happily Ever After.

I confess… I have to mow my lawn this weekend and I’m… actually looking forward to it. Not to brag on myself but I like hard work. Plus, I get a nice tan out there in the blazing sun. I then plan on taking a cold shower and a nap. Ah, weekends.

I confess… Elliot is going to his first sleepover this weekend. I am both happy and nervous for him. I don’t think he’ll get scared and want to come home. But I am afraid he’ll act obnoxious and piss off the parents. Do you remember being a kid and not giving a damn about that? I was completely oblivious to the parents’ take on sleepovers. Also, I always wonder now if my parents gave the other parents money for my food or if it’s commonly accepted that whoever is hosting the child pays. And it’s then assumed that the next time, we’d cover for their kid. Like, Ell went to Addy’s house once and they fed him and then we fed Addy when he came over for a playdate. So I guess it’s the same? Oh, I know this isn’t a huge deal but it’s one of those parent protocols I don’t really know yet.

Now for the portion of this post where I make a list of stuff I need to do. It’s more for me than you, because I use my blog as an account of my life to remind myself, but still. I would find this interesting if YOU put it on your blog. :)

Things I have to do:

  • Put St. George Island sticker on car
  • Clean out car; Windex inside of windshield
  • Water kitchen windowsill cactus
  • Rinse off camp chairs – sand sticks to them
  • Order new ones of these
  • Get a pedicure
  • Book vet for boarding in June
  • Sort through Baby Girl clothes; some no longer fit
  • Change crib bedding
  • Vacuum hair on bathroom floor
  • Get a haircut
  • Have Elliot write thank you notes to people who did the Flat Stanley project
  • Experiment with some Pinterest recipes
  • Take a damn vacation!

Weird, fun, crazy, exhausting weekend

My life just keeps getting crazier and crazier, I tell you. First, I agreed to grade some papers and I have ZERO time to do it in. THEN, my BIL came into town. THEN, I did this horrible thing to myself.

On Saturday, Ash and his brother had a race about an hour away so they were slated to be back by 2. My parents were set to be in town by 2:30. Around 9, I was putting kids and groceries in the car, I put the cart away and got in myself. And that is when I somehow managed to wrench my back so badly that I honest to God could not move. I somehow got Baby Girl out and on her mat at home but the kids carried in the groceries and I went to the couch to cry. The pain was so bad I had to ask someone for help, which is really unlike me in any way. But I couldn’t actually move. Luckily, my friend, Catherine, was able to come over. I don’t think I could have made it without her help. When Ash got home, he tried to get my upright but it was just so awful. I told my legs to move but they wouldn’t. I cried. It was worse than childbirth! The funny thing I found out is that I felt better the more I moved around. So even though rest sounded like the right treatment, the longer I sat, the stiffer it felt. So I pushed through Saturday night and that was by far the worst; that and early Sunday morning when BG woke up. Ash had to get her and bring her to me because I couldn’t bend over in the slightest.

Well, since Isaac’s birthday was Sunday, I had no choice but to get up. Luckily though, his party went off without a hitch. The bounce house showed up on time, a bunch of kids came, and fun was had by all. I am glad; he really  loved having all his friends there and a day just for him. Sometimes he gets overshadowed by the oldest and youngest of my children.

I took them all to school this morning and then we met back up with my family for breakfast before all going separate ways. I am happy to be in the office where things are slightly more calm but at the same time, there’s still potential to be crazy busy. It’s like it just never ends. I am jealous of my husband, who took his brother to the airport and is taking the day off. (Though he’s also doing taxes so, no thanks.) What I really want is just one evening where we have nothing to do. No baseball, no grading papers, no homework, no nothing. Le sigh.

Writer’s Workshop – You thought you were busy before…

workshop-button-15.) Something that is a challenge for you

As a mom of three, keeping up with everything is a challenge for me and here’s something I wrote about it:


It has been a scant 20 seconds since I gave at least three hugs and kisses to each boy, tucking them back in after they got up to close the closet or move a shoe or something of that sort. The door creaks open and one is now thirsty; the other is, therefore, also dying of extreme thirst and they both pad into the kitchen. I tell them goodnight one more time and sit on the couch, holding my breath. What other stalling tactic will I see next? How long before I hear the door again? I don’t, but then my seven month old remembers it is still evening hours which means she should scream her lungs out for absolutely no justifiable reason. It is her job as a baby – who does little else – to exercise those new lungs so I’m up again, cradling a tiny warm body in hopes she stays quiet for a little while, because after a nine hour work day where my office is a revolving door of grad student with their own set of problems, the last thing my fragile psyche can handle is more senseless crying.

A friend once told me that the hardest thing is going from zero kids to one. That first kid is a doozy but as you add more, it’s never so bad. You’re more prepped, they explained. You’ve done it before and at least know what to expect. Ok, I’ll give my friend that: as I had my second and third children, I went into it knowing how the kid thing works. But I don’t know if it’s “not as bad” so much as it is just entirely different. One to two seemed like my problems enhanced exponentially. They didn’t just double but intensified based solely on each individual issue that arose. The thing I had going for me that second time was that I had another boy so I felt comfortable in doing boy things. No new clothes needed to be purchased. The nursery stayed as it was; all the toys were good to go as boy #2 aged. Sure, having two boys amplified the sound in our household tenfold and there were a lot of pretend guns and cars and dinosaurs. But it was also pretty magical. Still, I don’t think zero to one was harder than two to three. Dividing my attention amongst everyone is by far the most difficult part. I’m pulled in so many directions: the boys, husband, jobs, my own basic desires like, you know, going to the bathroom.

There are days when 24 hours is enough. I get work done, the kitchen cleaned, dinner made, kids in bed, AND find time to work out and watch an episode of Inkmaster. Still, there are days when you’d think I hadn’t the slightest idea how to be a mom. Jeans didn’t get washed or we’re out of apple sauce and the dogs are jumping on kids and kids are crying and this mom has had it. There have probably been times when my neighbors thought they should call the Child Services because I’m ranting about my kids’ lack of sense. I would kill for just one or two more hours to wash dishes and maybe – just maybe – I could even read a book.

I chatted briefly with a guy who works at a downtown eatery I’ve been frequenting for years. I knew he was getting married over Spring Break so we talked about it and he beamed happily explaining his honeymoon in Paris and Rome. Then he said, “Well, back to the grind. That’s the way it is.” And he’s right. This is life; the good stuff presents itself here and there and sometimes you get a break but day to day this is what we do. We’re busy, we have to get stuff done, we give ourselves over to inevitability of responsibility. You could go crazy thinking about what the point of it all is but then, when my oldest son comes out of his room again, even after the second glass of water, and gives me a sweet kiss on the cheek and a tired “I love you”, then I know why I do all this. I know.

Change of scenery

Our house was and is a good “starter home”. It’s about 1450 square feet, has four bedrooms, a large backyard, and is close to the middle of town and hence, almost everything. I won’t go so far as to say we’ve outgrown it but as I have mentioned before, my neighbors moving away is really prompting me to look seriously at moving. We always said we couldn’t afford another house until every kid was in school. Looking at these estimated mortgages on zillow, I feel like once Isaac is in Kindergarten – and if we rented out our current home – then we could totally get something that is twice as much as what we have now. I always hesitated to rent our house, for the sake of my neighbors, but since they’ll be gone, it’s a real possibility.

I don’t know… I want to move and start fresh somewhere but I also do not. I am afraid of packing everything up, and realizing our house isn’t worth as much as we thought, and moving the kids’ school zone. There’s just a lot involved. But on the other hand, I want something newer, and a yard with actual grass and not a forest. I want the potential for neighbors with children and the maybe we’d even make friends with the parents. I don’t want to stagnate here because we think we can’t afford it. But I also don’t want to put us in a position where we really can’t afford it. Though, we’re better planners than that and would probably not end up in that situation.

I guess for now I had better hold off on dreaming for more. The time to move will come when it is right. No need to rush.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The harsh truth of impermanence

Around 10:00 on Saturday night I received a text from my neighbor.  Unfortunately it was not anything good.  Her text read “FYI: it’s happening.  Smitty has to be in Colorado on March 1.  I will stick around to get the house ready to sell.”

At first I was dreadfully sad. They have been so good to us over the years. They are just a bit younger than my parents, no children. Before we had kids, they let us borrow tools and invited us over to dinner. Once Elliot came along, Nancy often watched him for brief periods of time when we had extenuating circumstances. She brought him birthday gifts and was good to him like an aunt or something. When Isaac was born, she stayed with him so Ash could be at the hospital with me; same with Dakota. When we had to take Iggy to be put to sleep, she stayed with the boys and reassured them it would be alright. For the last couple years, she has watched our dogs so we don’t have to pay the vet while we go out of town. So, to say I was saddened is only part of it.

I didn’t realize how comforting it was to see their cars next door every day. If you have read my blog for any period of time, you may have heard me talk about the neighbors on our other side: the ones who feed stray cats. To say I hate them is a gross understatement. They will drop dead before they move.  Just knowing that on one side of us are good-hearted people who aren’t trying to screw us over is just so… nice, you know? I will be sad to see them go but hopeful that perhaps – just maybe – a family will move in.

A few weeks ago, I was lamenting the fact that my friends and I get together on a monthly basis but they all hang out with their neighbors all the time. Each one is lucky in that they moved to neighborhoods where there were kids that went to the same schools and were the same ages as their kids. They have all become friends with their neighbors by chance. I am not as big on praying as I used to be but I am really praying for a nice family next door. It’s a great house with a cute yard; please let it be good people. The worst-case scenario is one of two things: renters who are just bad people and/or people with kids and those kids are punks. BUT, I am going to be hopeful and positive.

This put a lot of things into perspective for me though. I am very hopeful that 2014 will bring with it good things. Ash is working on a new project, I have applied to some full-time online gigs, and I am excited about change for our family: Baby Girl growing older, Elliot playing coach pitch baseball, Isaac playing flag football and going to VPK… there’s a lot going on this year.

I knew they wouldn’t live there forever; they told me years ago they wanted to go back to Colorado but I always figured that we’d move to another neighborhood before they left. But we cannot control so many aspects of our lives and this is something I must simply accept. In some ways, understanding that fact and letting it go is freeing. I can’t stop them from going but I can help them pack up and be thankful I knew them. I can greet whomever moves in next and make the best of it. Maybe in a few years, once my younger kids go on to elementary school, we can start scoping other places. Maybe we won’t always stay in Tallahassee, but if we do, we’ll definitely find a more family-filled place to relocate. For now, I am just thankful to have had such good people in our lives.

Two steps forward, one step back

The place where I bit the inside of my cheek during surgery has turned into a terrible sore which is more painful than my actual arm pain.  My arm and my hand actually feel pretty good.  I can’t pick up anything but I can use my fingers a little bit more than I could.  It is amusing to me that I figured out how to use voice recognition so I wouldn’t have to type slowly, and now it hurts to talk.  I think it’s a test; because I’m very quick to think that something – some cosmic force –  is always working against me.  Though I know this is not logically true, sometimes it does seem like it.  Perhaps in this case I have to let that go and believe that sometimes things just happen.

I am taking a half day today; Ash and I are going to the new BJ’s Brewhouse, though eating kind of sucks these days with the mouth pain.  I can keep it at bay by rinsing with hydrogen peroxide and other mouth sore meds, but it still makes eating entirely unenjoyable. Not sure what the weekend has in store for us but it’s pretty cold here.  I’ll probably try to tackle laundry the one handed, which is always pretty annoying.  Elliott has a birthday party tomorrow that I really don’t want to go to, but we’ll probably go to anyway.  It is at a skating rink, so it should be pretty funny to watch all the kids fall all over themselves.

Pretty sure our lives are about to get pretty busy.  Once I get my sutures out, Ash has a Saturday card tournament, then he runs a marathon on the same day as the Super Bowl.  Elliot starts and baseball at the end of February, then Ash has a race in Orlando at the beginning of March and a 50k at the beginning of April. His brother will be here for both.  We may also celebrate Isaac’s birthday a little early because Uncle Elliot will be here.  Isaac has yet to have a birthday with friends – we usually just have family – but this year we have to have a friend birthday.

What it all comes down to right now is that I’m not feeling like myself, I suppose due to the surgery and the mouth pain.  Oh I know that in a week or so I will feel a lot better; for now everything seems like it’s in a holding pattern.  I’m not as depressed as I was this time last year but things feel like they’re just floating, waiting for something to happen.

Maybe I need to make something happen.

A day in the life

I didn’t run yesterday. I wanted to, needed to. Have brand new shoes and everything. But instead, I left my office at 3:30. A student had come in, complaining about her teaching assignment, and my inability to form coherent sentences indicated that I was crashing hard. The night before, Dakota went to bed at 9 but woke at 12:30, 1:30, 3:30 and 5:30., apparently starving. Normally, she wakes between 3 and 4 sometime. I managed to keep the sleepiness at bay: travel mug of Green Mountain Sumatran Reserve then a grande vanilla latte from the library Starbucks after my class at 10. The air was particularly brisk and the walk from Williams to Bellamy woke me up, cleared my nose. Mid-day brought spring assignments and then, mid-afternoon, I was DONE.

I went home and ran a hot bath, made some hot Lemon Lift tea, and laid back to finish Drawn Together by one of my all-time favorite romance authors, Lauren Dane. The rest of my crew got home around 5 and we did homework and choose your own adventure dinnertime: pb&j for Isaac, grilled cheese and tomato soup for my other two guys. Once everyone had been fed, I managed to make myself a grilled cheese with one slice of colby jack, some horseradish cheddar, and a couple slices of bacon. Magical. But that was about the time Dakota started to crash too. She sometimes cries like mad when she’s really tired so between 7:30 and 8, she was nearly inconsolable. But then she fell asleep in my arms around 8. And Ash made a comment that if she fell asleep on him, he would be asleep soon after. And what do you know: I was. I slept there with her, all bundled on the couch, until 9. It was magical sleep, wonderfully peaceful sleep. I liken it to that Friends episode where Joey and Ross nap together and it was the best nap of all time.

Before getting her in bed around 9:30, I washed bottles and did a load of baby clothes. Around 10, Ash and I climbed into bed after turning the heat on for the first time this season. We watched some FSU basketball and I got out some of our fuzzy winter blankets. I drifted off to sleep nice and cozy.

Around 4;45, I bolted upright, realizing Dakota had not yet woken to eat. It’s a strange dichotomy; I want her to sleep all night but if she hasn’t woken, a small part of my brain believes that there is clearly something wrong. I went in to her room and she was snoozing peacefully, not ready to eat at all. So I got back in bed and slept about another hour until I heard her stirring on the baby monitor. The morning felt rushed but we got out of the house on time AND I had time to make sausage, egg, and cheese biscuits for the boys. And now, here I sit in my office, perusing the internet and slowly gathering things to organize on my desk, making a list of tasks to accomplish today.