Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mommy Stamp

How to spot a mommy.
CJ stuck this on my hand this morning when I buckled him into his carseat to go to daycare. And I just couldn't take it off. So, I wore it to work today.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Office Cake

This I dread. Cake...specifically birthday cake...the icing on the
cake to be precise. I can't stand it. Which I realize is very hard for
some to understand. My new boss is a huge fan of it. In fact she
brings one in once a month along w/ donuts & cupcakes on various other
days of the week. She simply doesn't get it. The first cake she
brought in January & I attempted to politely decline a slice. Soon I
discovered what an serious office social faux pas I made. Seriously? I
could have cared less about whether they ate cake or not. I don't
judge. I have my own vices. But the judgement on me was swift and
harsh. I was asked if I were on a diet (in a mocking tone) and called
"skinny Minnie." Why is that okay? Do these people know that as an
adult Ive lost 40 pounds? That I've struggled my whole life w/ weight
& body image? That I was an overweight child? I lost my weight as a
teen by starving myself? No. They don't know that I shot my
metabolism. Or that I'm trying my damndest to simply eat healthy @
remove refined foods from my diet as much as possible. That I'm simply
trying to live healthy. If I liked cake then I might occasionally
indulge but if I don't like the taste, so why eat it?
That day I noticed my friend Ned. He'd taken a slice & sat there
quietly poked it w/ his fork to move it around his plate. Then on the
way out he disgarded it in the trash can. Back at our desks I
commented on his sly move. He smiled and leaned over to me, "it's all
about their own guilt. It has little if anything to do w/ you. People
feel better when they all participate in eating junk as a group. If
you refuse you point out that they too could make a better choice."
I hate to waste and don't want to take something I'm only going to
toss. But that's what I've started doing. And you know what? Everyone
makes a big deal if you don't take a piece but no one notices if you
sit there w/ a full slice of cake that you toss in the trash on the
way out.

Sent from my iPod

Their Idea of Quiet

Last night, the boys were freshly washed and running through the house in their little pj's. I was trying to scarf down a slice of deep dish pizza (which I find gross-who needs three inches worth of crust a scant amount of sauce and topping that costs them 3 gazillion calories- but this was not my idea). before I read them their bedtime stories. The race track was down the hall through the living area, into the kitchen, circle the table and back again. Over and over. I gave them a project to slice up their own banana's and eat the chunks. Basically it was a short pit-stop. It took them like five minutes to each eat a whole banana and split another. CJ started to cough. Then Jay spoke up. "Boys sit down and find something quiet to do."
Their idea of quiet was to get the Nerf gun, load the magazine with foam darts, sit at one end of the kitchen and rapid fire them across the room. BOYS.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Saturday morning, I woke up and was time. The boys closet had become a massive mound of boxes and old toys piled a couple feet deep. And the vast majority of it outgrown. It was time to purge the baby stuff. The closet had become a hazard- WC had to resort to standing on top of a pile of toys to reach his pants. They would go recreational mountain climbing in there and inevitably, one of them would get stuck. Around here it may as well have been an engraved invitation addressed to any brown recluse spider in a 30 mile radius. The closet would have qualified for that show called Hoarders.
Armed with a mug of coffee and trash bag- in I went. Started in the front and began sorting- stray puzzle pieces in one pile, orphaned shoes, socks (never have I stored socks in the closet), crayons, Lego's, action figures. Then I went through the boxes of clothes- anything too small for CJ was going to charity. I found the first pair of shoes that both boys wore- Stride Rites- brown suede leather, very cute. We had a very difficult time finding shoes for WC- his foot was so wide & thick from top to bottom. Going to Stride Rite store gave me an anxiety attack- How much for such a small pair of frickin' shoes? But both boys wore them- and they are still very good looking shoes and the bottoms were still perfect. They were definitely quality shoes. They sat on the outside of the donation boxes for some time. I went back and forth on whether or not to part with them. The only reason to keep them were my emotions but what would that do? Where would I put them? And what really would be the point? At some point in time they will decay. They are stuff. On the other hand, they are really nice shoes that could bless someone who doesn't have the funds to buy shoes for their baby. In the box they went. And all the clothes that both of them wore. I cleaned out. I wish I had a before and after photo of the closet. It felt great removing it all from the house. The only thing left will be the baby bed (that's currently a daybed for CJ) this summer.
I made a comment to Jay that we were getting rid of all the baby things. "That's kind of sad," he replied.
"I really would have thought so too, but I'm okay with it. I'm really excited to see what amazing little boys our babies are turning into. I am looking forward to these next stages."
In my heart, I feel we are complete right now. Biologically, I can't have any more babies. At one point when CJ was a newborn, my sister became pregnant and I thought I'd be raising another child very close in age to CJ. The child didn't live (I wonder what it would have been like- I would have two, two year olds right now). My mom thought I was crazy but I felt up for it.  If I begin to feel called to bring another life into our clan, we'll adopt. A girl. But at this stage I feel we are complete and it's time to move the old stuff out and get ready for what's next.
A couple weeks back, I cleaned out the linen closet- so we had a ton of things to go. Ended up being two car loads. Jay took the first load and picked up lunch. After lunch, I drove the second load to the drop location. In my load- there was the high chair. It was used for both kids. I took it out of the kitchen a couple weeks back. I've been okay with it missing.
When I pulled out of the parking lot, I could see it sitting in the back of the truck and I drove past leaving it- and all the other boxes behind. Tears came to my eyes. I'm done with the baby thing. I spent a long time prepping/hoping/praying for the babies. In a blink it's done. It isn't that I drove away wishing for a new baby. I drove away missing CJ when he was a baby- that period of my life. I turned thirty all round and filled with new life. He came into this world and I felt I came into my own. I became a better mother. I loved every minute of his infancy. And it will never be back. Don't get me wrong- I love my little guy now too. It was a bittersweet moment getting rid of the stuff. I'm glad I did.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Big Dreams

Tuesday night on the way home from karate class WC began asking questions about how long he would have to take karate. "Don't you want to get your next belt?" I ask.
"Yes," he replied. "But when I am finished with my belts, will I have to do it everyday?"
Now from what I can tell, even though the black belt is the highest there seems to be an endless amount of "degrees" of the black belt. Not sure that one is ever really "done." But I'm not going into that. I tell him that only if he wants to be a karate teacher.
"No, I don't want to be a karate teacher. I'm going to be a doctor."
This isn't his first mention of becoming a doctor. He's been saying it since he was four. But I just figured since at that point in his life he'd seen so many doctors and made so many trips to Vanderbilt for chest x-rays that he didn't realize other professions existed.
"I thought for a little bit," he continued. "About working where daddy works, but I decided against it. I want to be a doctor because I like helping people."
"That's a good thing to want to become," I told him. "Becoming a doctor take a lot of hard work. You have to work really hard in school." Hey, I might as well play that up, right? I am not going to discourage him, though I want him to realize nothing comes easy.
"Mommy, will you help me become a doctor?"
"If you want to become a doctor, I will do everything that I can to help."
Yes, I know the odds of his changing his mind, several times over, are astronomical. When I was his age, I wanted to be a teacher (interesting that as a girl child in the early 80's, my dream was a teacher). Then I wanted to be a journalist and a news anchor. I became neither...well technically I'm not paid to be a teacher.
Yesterday, I located another website that contains great free printable worksheets for at least through the elementary levels- I only looked at preschool and kindergarten. offers excellent sheets about every secular, educational topic. It's totally free they request a $1 donation but it isn't required- however totally worth it. I found some great things to go along with my homemade worksheets (I'm using to gear the tutoring to the specific high-frequency words tested in his class). My goal is combine several skills in one worksheet to knock it out. For example using number word, color word and a high frequency word in the same worksheet. I plan on using our sessions as a guide to plan the next one- repeating the words or concepts he doesn't know until he does. I'm going to mix those with different crafts and coloring. Found some great ideas on using The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle book and creating different activities for reading, math & science. My goal is to do a "caterpillar day" one day this summer.
If anyone else has any great ideas or good free websites for enrichment activities for the preschool & K levels please feel free to leave a comment. I'm looking for fun and interesting ways to bring these concepts to the kiddos.
Last night we sat down for our first official tutoring session- which I told him we were playing a new "game." And the first thing I gave him was a St. Paddy's Day themed coloring activity to color say the second shamrock and draw a rectangle around the 4th.  There were about five lines of different themed pictures and he got into it. I was scared that he'd balk at my worksheets. But he played along, even with my homemade ones. I only had to pull out the inner motivational speaker once. There was the distraction of CJ, so I had to issue several reminders to keep writing his words. Although I found out that 3 worksheets was the limit...good to know for tonight. I can design our sessions around that limit in mind. I salvaged the meltdown by drawing a smiling bear face on the last completed sheet telling he did such a good job that he gets a smiling bear. He thought that was so cool and set about learning how to draw my smiling bear and the smiling faces that I drew on his other sheets. He was laughing and smiling. Ending the session on a positive note...YAY.
Last week, we had 5 days of behaving well and school- completing his seat work instead of staring off into space. And so far this week we are 3 for 3! Progress!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I'm Done...

This is an official announcement. I am finished with my pity-party. That's it. On drive in this morning, it occurred to me that being stressed and feeling sorry for myself does not help me at all. It will not solve anything nor will it make the my life or the lives of my children better. Neither will alcohol or food. None of that would improve my ability to be a mother. And let's face it, the kids deserve the best and I can't give it to them down in the dumps. I recalled the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

So, I can't do anything about the changes that my employer made to my job. For the time being I have to accept this. I can most certainly begin to keep my eyes open for something closer to my home. In this economy I'm not going to bet on it. And even if I do, I would have to keep the benefits in mind: insurance & time off. Those things are very important with children. I'm currently carrying it all for the family. My husbands job offers neither affordable insurance or paid time off (this year he did get 5 days which we horde the final 3 for all their worth). So, when the kids get sick it's all on me to take care of in order for his paycheck not to be docked. So, I can keep an eye out for something else- for him too. My fantasy is that he gets a great job with benefits and I can hop scotch my happy ass out of here. But I digress...

What I can also change right now...and have already started is getting WC back on track with his school work. The first order of business was to shut the tv off on week nights. That's right, the tv does not come on when we walk in the house. We simply don't have time. There's enough to do. He's spent the past two and half hours in after-school care-playing. It isn't like it's just work-work-work. We're working on spelling words and writing. Last night he completed his homework that's due on Friday. Yep, no waiting to the last minute, let's get it over with. I've been online researching extra enrichment activities and worksheets that include things he needs to work on. I've printed off a number of free worksheets from 

Tonight on our drive to karate we will work on verbally spelling words. I ordered some phonics readers, a teachers set actually, that came highly recommended when the BOB books are a little too simple. And I ordered the first set of BOB books ( for CJ. CJ sits at the table when WC does his homework & he has to have pencils and paper too. So, I'm going to work with him too- finding level appropriate things for him. With CJ's ability I think I can have him reading about on the same level as WC in a few months, if I worked on it. The problem is the time. But I am determined to make it work.

Random Cell Phone Photo

He already controls the minds of toddlers everywhere. What's next, Elmo? What's next?

Monday, March 15, 2010


Normally, I do not blog about my day job. It's generally been an insignificant part of my life, something that I do simply to pay the bills, put food on the table and have health insurance. Never have I operated under the delusion that this was my "dream" job or what I feel is my life's work. At the end of my shift, I simply walk out the door and everything that has happened to me in the 8 hours inside this building stays here. By the time I get to my car it is simply out of my mind. Of course, as all mothers who work outside the home know, it is hardly the end of my day. There are plenty of things to occupy my brain once I leave. However, they have changed my job. Without asking, without consulting. I walked in one day and they said 'this is what you're doing now.' End of discussion. I have been a complete and total stressed out wreck  ever since. This is department wide, they simply divided us in half and assigned us to what we're doing. Although I am grateful to still have a job, don't get me wrong. However, in my new "role" I don't feel as though I can do anything right (because she tells me on a regular basis what I'm doing wrong) and two, even if I do it right I get the impression that it will never be good enough. And, perhaps that is nature of what this job is in the corporate world. I don't believe that, personality wise, I can ever be as aggressive as they want me to be. And not only that, I believe there is a clear discrepancy between how the "high dollar" accounts are handled and the mom & pops. I've always had a low tolerance for unfairness- which has caused issues in the corporate world before. So here I sit. I don't belong. I'm supposed to be at home, tending the kids, not paying for after school care, finishing my novel, and complaining about the publishing business. That was my plan. And real life sucks.
And speaking of novels, ever since the change at work, I've been blocked. Or so I've blamed on the stress of the job that I can't get into the writing zone during lunch (not even for a blog). A friend of mine told me that he didn't think it was the job at all. I'm nearing the end and that I'm afraid to finish. Not sure I buy it. But he went on to tell me to just write anything. "Write something you know is wrong just to get it flowing. Working with words is easier than a blank screen." So I skipped a head in the story and wrote on the ending. Not sure what I'll keep...but at least I have something to work with.
Then right after my sister moved out, WC fell apart in school. He simply quit paying attention. It was like he just lost the ability to focus. She had to begin putting him alone to do his seat work and still he wouldn't finish it. He had a couple of glaring low marks on his report card. And when I asked the teacher about them she agreed that with the rest of the report card & his abilities that this does stick out like a sore thumb. But he is refusing to do two things: retell a story (verbally) in his own words. And to write a sentence (phonetically). They don't expect them to spell perfectly at this point. For example she asks What do you do on your birthday? And they are to come up w/ a sentence such as: I like to eat cake. And he simply draws a picture and pretty much refuses to attempt writing the sentence. With his overall ability (96% on his unit test) it doesn't make sense. These two things and lack of focus are what is keeping her from recommending him tested for gifted-ness. The only thing that I can come up with is his perfectionism. I've seen it many times, If he can't do something perfectly the first time he doesn't want to do it at all. We're going to have a long, hard battle with this. He doesn't want to attempt something because he's scared of doing it wrong. I don't know where this comes from. We've never expected perfection from him. I've always told him that as long as he tries his best then that makes me happy. I also discovered that many of the things that I thought my sister was helping him on, school- work wise had not been happening. She'd quit going over the things that came home in his bag was simply plopping him in front of the television.He was probably watching two hours of cartoons instead of going over his work. I'm surprised he only had two low marks. It just goes to show me, what he is capable of- if I can get him to concentrate.
Last week, he managed to have a good week at school and by Friday she was able to let him return to the class for individual seat work and he completed it. So I took him (and CJ) out for a reward Friday afternoon. We went to a "jump" facility- where they have the giant inflatable slides and houses and obstacle courses and just let them run wild. Then to McD's for dinner.
The added stress of my job plus worried about WC and how I'm going to find the time to drop off/pick up/commute/karate/homework/going over his reading/training for half marathon. I was almost ready to throw in the towel on my healthy eating/exercise regimen last week and bury myself in margaritas and cheese dip or anything with triple chocolate in the title or pretty much anything that would wreck havoc on my waistline. But I didn't (I did go overboard w/ the cookies last night- but the 5.5 miles on Sat cancelled that out, right?). Oh and now there's a blister on the bottom of my foot...
If you've made it to the end of this, thank you for listening to my rant.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I know it's been too long since my last post. My absence has not been
on purpose. A re-org of my department at work, a new project & a
series of illnesses (both kids & myself) left me w/ little time or
energy to post. Not that there aren't stories to share. There are
always stories when there are children around. Tonight as I drove WC
to karate class I quizzed him on his spelling words-10 three letter
words w/ the short "a" sound. That's the way the past week has been- a
constant stream of go-go until my body revolted w/ cold or allergies.
I felt like hell starting on Thursday. Missed all my workouts since.
Once i finally sit down at night i fall asleep. Then CJ became a human
version of Old Faithfull. I haven't seen so much liquid come out of
something so small since he was a newborn w/ reflux. Thankfully, it
only lasted 24 hours. He seems fine today. Jay stayed home w/ him and
got the rare treat of spending time alone w/ him. They ordered pizza.
So here I sit. WC is in karate class. I'm alone, it's quiet. There's a
rare moment to collect my thoughts. The problem is that I don't know
what to think first. So if this post is a bit disjointed. My apologies.
A woman sits down the row from me fussing that she's having trouble
typing on her laptop. How about tapping out your thoughts solely w/
your index finger for some perspective?
Hopefully tomorrow I'll have a moment to compose a proper story entry

Sent from my iPod