Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Good Mommy

There is a single question that plagues me about 75% of the time. Am I a good parent? A good mom? (Wait, that's two questions...my bad.) If I asked someone this question I know (or at least hope) they would automatically say "Of course you are." But let me tell you, this does not cure self doubt. Because when you are around others or out in public, you tend to be the best version of yourself as a parent. You're patient (or as patient as you can be with a 5 year old running around Target), you're understanding, you're making your kids laugh, you're attempting to get your child to behave without screaming; you're doing all these things knowing that there are people watching you. Judging you. Judging your child. Being a parent is hard.

By being a mother, I've learned exactly how short my temper can be. I DO NOT appreciate being splashed when my kids are in the bathtub. I don't want the bathroom floor covered in water and my clothes to be so wet I have to change when bathtime is over. I DO NOT like it when my children don't listen to me. You would think something as easy as, "Grace, we don't sit on the kitchen table, we sit in our chair," would be pretty easy to follow. However, my hard headed cutie pie believes everything should be done her way, how and when she wants it. So we quickly evolve into me giving my 1-2-3 warning, yanking her off the table, and sitting her little butt down in the chair. Then she begins crying because a) she didn't get her way, and b) mommy yelled at her. Which begins a meltdown, which means I've got to suffer through her crying (which can be exhausting) or I've got to pick her up and calm her down which will undo anything I may have just managed to drill into her little head about listening. With Gracie, I tend to pick her up and comfort her. With Logan, I'll let him cry for a while. I'm not sure if it's because he's older and I know he can handle a little crying, or if it's because he's a boy and I think he should "man up" as I like to say. Gracie's my baby girl, hearing her cry and seeing her puppy dog eyes breaks my heart. I'm going to go with I do it because he's older. Anyway, I DO NOT like it when my children get out of bed once I put them in it. We have a nighttime routine. Every other night they take a bath, and every night we read two or three stories on Logan's bed. Logan turns on the classical music CD he listens to, gets a drink of milk, kisses and hugs, and he's done. I take Grace to her room, we read or rock or sing sometimes, she drinks some milk, she lays down, kisses and hugs, and two kids down. Logan has gotten pretty good about staying in bed. Gracie...not so much. It's her age and I just have to deal with it, but it's aggravating. I sit down to write this blog, hear a noise behind me, and Gracie is on all fours crawling across the floor to me. Back to her bedroom we go, rock in the chair, down in the bed, kisses and hugs, and I'm done for the second time. Some nights are better than others, and it will pass, but it's still annoying.

But along with the things I don't like, comes the things I love. I LOVE when Gracie gives me a big squeeze around the neck for no reason. I LOVE when Logan tells me I'm his best mommy (the irony really gets me). I LOVE laughing with my kids. I LOVE watching them play together nicely. I LOVE when they're in their pajamas after a bath, cuddled next to me on Logan's bed, reading stories. I LOVE (even though I shouldn't) when they crawl in to bed with me to snuggle in the mornings. I LOVE when they tell me they love me. I LOVE them so much that I can't imagine my life without them.

Being a parent is hard. You love these children so much and never want to see them hurt, but in order for them to learn how to follow the rules and learn how the world works, you sometimes have to be someone you don't want to. You have to yell, and smack little hands, and force them to sit in time out. That part sucks. They're so sad and hurt that the person they (hopefully) love most in the world was mean to them. But they forget about and move on. Time outs over and they're into the next thing. One day I'll probably look back and reminisce about the days when all I had to do was put them in time out for 5 minutes and it was all over. One day, as I'm grounding them for sneaking out, I'll miss the days when all it took was a smack on the hand to correct bad behavior. But for now, I'll try to keep my temper in check and remember how lucky I am to have such awesome kids. And that I wouldn't trade them for anything.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Consistent Blogger

A long time ago when my sister Catherine began blogging, I thought it was a really good idea. I could start keeping up with her "real" life. When we talk on the phone, we talk about main tidbits - Logan did this, Potter chewed that, Dave got a new job. But when I read her blog, I find out about all the little things going on in her life - her stress level related to school, how much she enjoys being able to read what she wants, Dave getting to race with Potter - okay, that's from Dave's blog, but you get the picture. I always thought it would be something fun to do, but thought it would be one of those things where I started out strong and quickly faded until it was forgotten completely. That hasn't quite turned out to be true. I definitely started strong, and I am fading, but I don't think I'll completely forget it. I've found that I really like having a blog. I like the idea of people being able to keep up with me and the kids and whatever excitement is currently going on in our lives...without having to make multiple phone calls to tell the same story over and over. But if you've noticed that I haven't been updating quite as frequently - you're right. During the week I feel like I have so much to do, what with the new TV season starting ;-), that I don't have or make the time to sit down and write a blog. And on the weekends, I'm playing catch up on all the things I need to do around the house and all the sleep I've missed through the week - that I still don't take the time to write a blog. I have things floating in my head waiting to be written about, now I just have to sit down and do it. Stick with me friends - there's more to come.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Beach Bum

My beach bum has returned home. Gracie has been in Myrtle Beach this past week with my mother in law, both sisters in law and their husbands, and all 4 of her cousins. From what I hear - she had a fabulous time. She enjoyed both the big water (ocean) and the little water (condo pool). She wasn't afraid of the waves (although she yet to show fear of much). Often they would look up and Gracie would be headed to the ocean without a care in the world, they'd have to stop her (of course), and she'd throw one of her famous fits.

One day she and her aunt Becky were walking down the beach together when a lady stopped Becky to tell her how pretty her daughter was. That's right - Gracie could pass as Becky's daughter any day. And Logan could join his Aunt Missy's family with no problem, so I'll need to be on the lookout for any trouble makers ;-). Anyway, from what I gather she visited the ocean daily, spent an evening at the Dixie Stampede, and visited the aquarium. She came home with lots of souvenirs and not too much sand.

Last year we got to join them on the first annual Myrtle Beach vacation, but this year we couldn't take Logan out of school for his third full week of school ever, so Joey, Logan and I didn't get to go. However, I've been told next year his family is going to plan this trip for the summer, which is awesome. We were very disappointed we didn't get to go and hang out with them this week, so now we have something to look forward to next summer.

Thankfully, Miss Gracie was happy to see me when she got home and didn't try to leave with them again, which might have been hard for my heart to handle. I missed her while she was gone, but it was nice having some one on one time with Logan. Now it's back to the same ole. Logan's driving her (and me) crazy again, and I'm chasing after my two kids. What could be better?

Thursday, September 18, 2008


My husband, Joey, had his first seizure around the middle of September 2005. This was the month before he was scheduled to have his brain surgery. He was sitting in the recliner in the living around 9:30 in the evening maybe (I know Logan was already asleep and Gracie hadn't joined us yet). I think I was moving around the house putting things away, getting things ready for the next day, starting the dishwasher, etc. when I noticed him shaking. Let me tell you about feeling terrified. I had no idea what was going on. I tried to talk to him and see what was going on, but I ended up calling 911 because I simply had no idea what was going on. They took him in the ambulance to the emergency room and I had to decide what to do about Logan. I don't know if you know this about me, but I am a very independent person. I do not like asking for help. But at this moment I had no choice. I believe Joey's sister happened to not be home, or I'm sure I would've called her. As an alternative, I called my friend Melanie from the bank and asked her to come sit with Logan for maybe an hour and a half while my mom drove to Morehead from Lexington. After I hung up with Melanie, I called my mom and broke down. I was sobbing, terrified that my husband was dying. She calmed me down, Melanie arrived, and I went to the hospital. By the time I got there, the seizure had ended and he was resting. They gave him some anti-seizure meds, some pain meds, and sent us home (if I recall correctly, and I might not - it's been a while since then).

Over the course of the next 5 weeks he continued to have them more and more frequently. I learned to deal with them and that the ambulance was not required every time. After his surgery it was a while before he had one. We had hoped they were gone altogether, but no. He continues to have them sporadically now. But they've changed in severity. Now he shakes a lot, but has trouble breathing, too. That's the hard part now - trying to decide if a ride in an ambulance to the hospital is necessary. That's a scary guessing game to play, because if it goes wrong, it really goes wrong.

I write this because he had one today. He sent me a text message he has programmed in his phone that simply says "seizure." I called him and quickly learned it is much harder to listen to the seizure than watch. At least you know what you're dealing with when you can see him. When he's having a seizure he can't talk, so I basically had to listen to his labored breathing and keep telling him he'd be okay. I ended up rushing home from work when I decided he might need to go the emergency room. He just couldn't catch his breath; he's been fighting a chest cold/bronchitis for about a week, and since I couldn't see him to assess him for myself, and he couldn't tell me how he was, I had to come home and make sure he was okay. He finally managed to get his breath back, took some paid medicine, and went to sleep.

It's been kind of nice being home this afternoon - there are no kids home and I've caught up on some laundry, paid some bills, and emptied the dishwasher. But I'd rather be sitting at my desk and dreading doing all those things later (or let's face it - putting them off some more) than come home because Joey's not well. I just pray God will find a way to allow him some relief from his pain.

Monday, September 15, 2008

An Interesting Weekend

Every day Logan brings home his "Communication Binder" from school. In it are papers the teacher needs to send home, the snack chart for the month, his homework calendar, and a sheet the teacher uses to record his behavior for the day. If he's good, he gets a sticker. If not, she notes which of the 5 rules he didn't follow. He didn't get a sticker last Wednesday or Thursday. According to Logan (which could alter the accuracy of the story), Wednesday he got in trouble for either not going to the reading rug quick enough, or not sitting still on the reading rug. Who knows? Thursday he was in line to go to lunch, but apparently fell back in line. When he went to get back where he started, the kid wouldn't let him back in, so they pushed each other in some way. I don't know - he's a hooligan. So Thursday night I went over all the rules with him and Joey and I both reiterated how important it is to listen to the teacher and behave. We were certain he would bring a sticker home on Friday. However, that did not happen. Apparently during story time they are supposed to sit "criss cross applesauce," or in normal people's terms - Indian style. Logan did not do this. I don't know why he didn't want to sit like this, but there you are. To be honest, I don't really care if this is what he got in trouble for. I mean, I guess it's bad that he's not doing what the teacher says, but isn't that kind of a dumb thing to punish kids for? I guess I'm going to stay on Logan's side of this. I know I should be able to see Ms. Nero's side, but I don't. It's dumb - end of story.

My family in law arrived around 3:30 Saturday morning to sleep at our house on their way to Myrtle Beach. Logan had a blast playing with his cousins Saturday morning, and it was nice to visit with everyone for a little while. However, as soon as Gracie realized they were leaving, she decided she would be going too. She wouldn't leave "Mimi's" (my sister in law Missy) side and kept waving and telling me bye and giving me kisses. Once she even told me to go pack her clothes. It was really cute, until they were really ready to leave. My mother in law was holding her so I had to take her and try to explain that she would be staying home with me. She kept saying bye to me and trying to go back to Barb so they could get going. Eventually "Mawmaw" gave in and I was told to run and pack her things. While I was packing, they were putting her car seat in Mimi's van and she was in it by the time I got out there. She saw me through the front window and waved again with a big smile on her face. I gave her a kiss and she was gone. She didn't care what I was doing as long as she was going to the beach. Of course, her brother wasn't very amused by all this. He wanted to go too, or as an alternative, wanted Gracie to stay. He cried for a while, but recovered quickly once they were gone. But we are counting down the days until she returns ;-).

For some reason or another, I put Logan in time out around 6:00 Saturday night. I made him sit on the couch, which turned into him laying on the couch. I looked over a few minutes later, and he was out. He has been so exhausted from school, and refuses to take a nap, that he just gave in. He slept from 6:00 Sat. night to 7:30 Sun. morning. I enjoyed a quiet night catching up on Project Runway. I think I watched 4 or 5 episodes Sat. night, and the last 3 on Sunday. How lovely.

Sunday Logan and I went to my friend Jessica's house where she was babysitting her 4 year old niece, Zoey (I guess that's how you spell it) and 3 year old nephew, Josh. We had a nice lunch of chicken nuggets and french fries and then took the kids to the pool. After a while, they all became very brave and started jumping in the pool. Zoey could do it on her own since she had a little tube raft on. Logan, however, had to jump into someone's arms. Well, for some reason he decided Zoey could catch him. He jumped just about right on top of her and then used her as his flotation device. Not such a good idea. Jessica and I were right there and moved with surprising speed. We got them both safely above water and decided maybe we should take a break from jumping in the pool. The rest of our visit was pretty uneventful, and by the time we were ready to go home I was exhausted. I made it into the house, took a quick shower, and konked out on the couch.

So today is the big test after our long weekend. Will Logan come home with a sticker? Goodness, I hope so.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Late Night Visitors

Around the time Logan turned 2, we changed his crib to a toddler bed. Basically, we took off the front part and it became something he could get in and out of on his own. This also ushered in the era of him coming to our room to sleep with us in the middle of the night. At first, he'd just turn up when he woke up, climb in our bed, and snuggle for a little while before he got his day started. This was so sweet there was no way I could tell him no. However, it quickly turned into him coming into our room in the middle of the night to sleep with us. Not so good. We had been very adamant about him not sleeping with us as an infant - that habit could be very hard to break. In the middle of the night was a different story. I could barely wake up, much less haul him back to his room. The peak of his late night visits came after we moved to Charlotte. He would sometimes turn up as early as 1:00 a.m. I eventually had to force myself to wake up and take him crying back to his room, terrified all the while he would wake his sister up. With the start of school we seemed to have moved beyond this phase all together. If he shows up at all, it's usually after 6:00, which is fine with me.

But as we move away from our visits from Logan, we begin them with Grace. When she turned 2 I changed her crib into a toddler bed and never had a lot of problems from her. Unlike Logan, she stayed in bed when I put her down for the night and she cried or yelled for me when she woke up. No problems. In the past few weeks, she's begun coming downstairs on her own when she wakes up, which is cute. If she is at all interested in getting in our bed, it's simply to cuddle before she demands her morning cup of milk. However, last night I was woken up as she climbed into our bed around 2:15. I was so surprised and she curled up so sweetly against me, I let her stay. Until around 3:30 when I came to my senses and knew she had to go back to her own bed or else face years of an unpleasant, middle of the night battle. I love the morning cuddles, but like to have my space when I'm sleeping. So I took her back to her room where she slept the rest of the night. Logan arrived about 6:20 and layed with me until I got up to take a shower and then went to watch TV.

I imagine one day I'll look back and miss the moments where my kids wanted to sleep in my bed and cuddle with me when we woke up. But for now, I'll continue to get up in the middle of the night and carry them crying back up the stairs to their own beds.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Pirate Child

Back in February my mother-in-law took Logan in for his 4 year check-up (yes, I know, 7 months late - don't judge). This new pediatrician immediately spotted something our old pediatrician in Kentucky never noticed - Logan's right eye turned in. We had noticed it some, but never thought it was a big deal. Now I got to take Logan to the eye doctor to have it checked out. Woo hoo. When I took him the first time, he did great until they wanted to dilate his eyes. He didn't really care for the idea of them putting these drops in his eyes. Screamed bloody murder while the doctor and I pinned him down and somehow managed to get the drops in. After waiting for his eyes to dilate, we found out the vision in his left eye was pretty good. However, the vision in his right eye was terrible. He had to get glasses, and in order to correct the "lazy eye" he had to start wearing a patch 2 hours every day over the good eye in order to strengthen the bad eye. When we went back for his check up in July, his vision had improved dramatically. The doctor wanted to keep him wearing the patch for two more months, and then see where we stand. Presumably - he'd be able to stop wearing the patch. However, when we went back for his checkup today, he couldn't see worth a crap out of his right eye. What?! I went expecting him to be able to quit wearing the patch, now he can't see? After the nurse checked his vision, the doctor confirmed that he really couldn't see very well. He needed to dilate his eyes again. It took Logan a bit longer to figure out what the doctor was going to do, so he was able to pin him down by himself and get the eyedrops in. After waiting for his eyes to dilate, we found out that his vision has improved a bit, but he's developed a stigmatism. Fantastic. I had the joy of purchasing a new lens for his right eye and we have two more months to look forward to wearing the patch. It's not a big deal to wear it, it's just an inconvenience. And now with school having started, there are even fewer hours in the day to get it done. But we'll adjust. We just have to hope that the next visit goes better. And who knows? Maybe we have the makings of an awesome halloween costume.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Mommy Group

In high school, there was a group of us that was inseparable. Me, Robyn, Julia, Jaclyn, Julie, and Jasie along with others who came and went. But we were the main group. All of us have had children except for Robyn and Jasie. Well today Robyn joined our group. She gave birth to Kane Douglas Denney around 1 p.m. this afternoon. He weighed 6 lbs. 15 oz. and was 20 inches long. I'm so excited for her as she begins this new (and 18 year long) chapter of her life. Congratulations to her and her husband, Brett! Now long will Jasie be able to hold out?
(Jasie, Robyn, Julia, me, and Julie ready for our 10 year high school reunion - August 2007)

Little Miss Independent

I love to read. Plain and simple, there it is. I love to sit for hours, reading. I love books or magazines, blogs, gossip, anything. I currently have 5 magazine subscriptions which keep me occupied. These work well because they're usually short articles that don't require my full focus, so I can read them while I watch the kids. Books are reserved for when the kids go to bed. I pop an invidual size bag of popcorn, curl up under a blanket, and read for a while. I shouldn't do this. For my own sake, I should go to bed the minute after I put the kids down for the night. I just can't do it. At this point, I'm rereading a lot of books, so even though I know what's going to happen, I still want to read. It's my way of relaxing at the end of the day.

I remember in middle school when I realized how much I loved to read. The Babysitters Club and VC Andrews (polar opposites, I know) were my favorites. My friend Julia would come over and we'd sit for hours propped up against my headboard, reading. I ate cheese while I read back then. Kraft Singles. I had a particular way I folded and then nibbled it. I even got Julia doing it. Ahh, the good ole days.

Since I found out I was pregnant with Logan I couldn't wait to read to my kids. I remembered all the books I used to love and set out to stock the bookshelf with them, waiting for them to be old enough to listen. He used to cry when I sang to him so I started reading to him pretty early. My sister Catherine got us started on Sandra Boynton board books, which rhymed and manage to hold the attention of a toddler pretty well. I still read to Logan every night, though we've moved on from board books.

I didn't start reading to Gracie quite as early. She didn't really have the patience to sit still and listen, even to a small board book. But as soon as she was ready, I jumped in. I could just see my baby girl sitting on her bed next to her best friend the way I used to. However, little miss independent has foiled my plan. She used to sit on my lap as I rocked her and read three or so books every night. She has moved on - she no longer needs me to read to her. Now she grabs a couple of books, plops down on her bed, and "reads" to herself. She is not interested in sitting on mommy's lap or letting me read. Instead, now I sit and watch her read. It's rather boring. Every once in a while she'll sit on my lap and snuggle while I read "Snuggle Puppy." But now she can, and wants to, do it herself. My babies are growing up. It's so exciting, and so heartbreaking.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Long Week

Well, this past week has been pretty eventful. It started last Friday when I got up for work 20 minutes late, in addition to the 15 I usually am late. I turned on the shower, put in my contacts, and checked the water temperature so I could get in. Freezing cold. Okay. I usually let it run a little longer than that so I brushed my teeth and checked it again. Freezing cold. Well shit. Freezing cold it is. I told Logan to get Joey and jumped in. It was the coldest, fastest shower ever. I was in there 4 minutes, tops. I had to wash my hair, so that's all I did. Joey went out to check the pilot light on the hot water heater and realized there was no gas going to it. Well we had paid our bill, so who knew what the problem was. We found out about an hour later when Joey called to report it, that the gas company had been doing some routine maintenance that night and someone forgot to turn a switch back on, causing 7,000 people to be without gas Friday morning. Fantastic. They were estimating it could take the whole Labor Day weekend to get it back on.

Saturday night we still didn't have gas and Joey was getting a little ticked off about it. Around 10:30 that night he went on the back patio to smoke and saw the flasing lights on the next street that indicated they were up there turning on gas. He walked to where they were, had a "conversation" about them coming and turning ours on right then, and came home. Once he was back, he realized he had been bitten by some fire ants. Apparently, while he was talking to the gas people he was also standing on an ant hill and the ants didn't appreciate that. So they bit his feet and ankles, a lot. He was laid up in bed until about Wednesday with ice and various anti itch creams on his feet. The problem was, he's allergic to bee stings, and apparently doesn't agree with ant bites either. Oh well, he survived it.

Tuesday morning was Logan's first official day of school. I took him that morning because they were having a lite breakfast for all the newbies and their parents. We went to his room to put down all the supplies we had to bring and he decided he didn't want to go to the breakfast. So, after a kiss and a hug, I was off. How bizarre. This child that I was worried wouldn't want me to leave him at all, doesn't care if I do. Which is great, but sad. My little boy is growing up. He rode the bus home and Joey met him when he got off. He had a great day and has a new friend - Elliot. That's all I've heard about all week. I noticed when I dropped him off on Tuesday that he was sitting next to this boy, and on Friday Logan told me that they'd moved around and he was sitting next to someone different now. I'm going to assume the whole class moved, and the teacher wasn't just separating Logan and Elliot. On Thursday, he brought home his communication binder for the first time. It is the way the teacher and I can communicate. She sends it home with anything I need, and I can send notes back to her in it. This binder also contains his homework calendar for the month. Yes, my kindergartener has homework. Easy things, but homework none the less. So Logan's first week of school went great and he can't wait to go back on Monday.

As for me, I have been a little chef this past week. Last Saturday I made chicken stroganoff in the crockpot, which was delicious. It immediately became one of our favorite meals. I made pumpkin bread with a cream cheese layer in the middle, which was really good once you sprinkled some powdered sugar on it. I made one of my favorite chicken casseroles on Friday, and tonight I made salisbury steak in the crockpot. It was pretty good, but nothing next to the chicken. I also made a blueberry cheesecake with a recipe from the Kraft magazine I get. It's not very good, which is disappointing considering I love cheesecake and Joey loves blueberries. Logan tried a bite and spit it in the trash can, so I went ahead and threw the recipe away. It just tastes like cream cheese - you can barely even taste the blueberries. Bleh. Oh well. I love it when I get in the mood to be a chef. Cooking is one of my least favorite things to do most of the time, but every once in a while I get in a mood where I love doing it.

Monday, September 1, 2008

If I Had a Million Dollars

My thoughts frequently swirl around this title of a Barenaked Ladies song. What would I do with endless money? A huge lottery win. Here's my laundry list:

1. I would first buy a house. Not a ginormous mansion, but a practical home I would want to live in forever. No less than 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, huge kitchen with a breakfast area, three car garage, roomy living room, fancy dining room, spacious laundry room. And of course, the requisite fancy appliances and new furniture. How much fun would that be?

2. I would then hire a cleaning lady and yard boy. No more dusting, vacuuming, mopping, cleaning windows, mowing, trimming, landscaping. Forget it - I'm rich now.

2. New cars. Again, not anything ridiculous, but a new fully loaded van, and whatever car Joey and I would each like.

3. A massive shopping trip. I'd visit any store I laid my eyes on and buy whatever I liked for all of us. I'd buy tons of clothes, home decor and linens, new toys for the kids, and new gadgets for me and Joey - computers, TVs, DVDs, iPods, whatever I saw that I liked.

4. I would, of course, donate to charity. Probably a diabetes association, a heart foundation, the Chiari foundation, and whatever else struck my fancy. I would give an offering to my church, even though I'm not that involved there. (Is it wrong that this is fourth on my list?)

5. I would help out our families however they may need it - mortgages, new homes, medical bills, cars, credit card bills. I might even help out a few friends. Oh, and they'd get awesome presents for every occasion from here on out!

I'm sure there's something I'm forgetting, or someone. Oh well. It's just fun to dream sometimes.