Wednesday, February 25, 2015

$h!tt% Story About My $h!tt% Neighbor

I have to write this down and put it out there.  It's seriously just driving me crazy.  So I'm sorry for the $h!tt% post, I'll be back to my normal, sunshiny self in no time.

So we live in a town house.  A very small town house that has basically no yard.  There is about 3 feet of grass between our steps and the sidewalk, so I guess that is something.

There are lots of dogs in our neighborhood.  There are rules about cleaning up after your dog and in our almost 3 years we have not had much issue with it.  That is until about 4 months ago.  Now, I come home everyday to a new pile of dog $h!t in my tiny little yard.  And it's little dog $h!t.  So I know it's got to be a dog in the small to medium range.

My kids step in it.  My kids ride their bikes through it.  It's disgusting and it has made me hate every neighbor with a certain sized dog.

Also, there is always dog $h!t on the sidewalks.  Like right in the middle of the freaking sidewalk, not off to the side where maybe the dog $h!t and walked, but just squat down right there in every one's freaking way.

We have our suspicions to who the culprits are.

#1 - There is woman who moved in with her son and his family last fall.  She walks her small dog back and forth in front of our town house row about 781 times a day.

#2 - A couple moved in late last fall and have a terrier sized dog and a huge dog.

Clif and I have witnessed both of these suspects not clean up their dog's $h!t.  Not necessarily in our yard, but around.

So yesterday I arrived at home about 20 minutes before the bus was set to arrive, so I ran in the house and did some laundry and had a snack.  While I was in the kitchen my dogs started getting all bajiggity, which they do all the time because other dogs are walking just 3-4 feet from them, on the sidewalk.

As I was telling them to calm down I noticed a movement out the window, so I peeked through the blinds.  The old woman was there with her little dog and the dog was $h!tt!n& on my sidewalk.  The sidewalk that leads to my stairs.  So I watched.

The dog finished.  The woman reached down and grabbed a handful of snow.  She then proceeded to wipe the dog $h!t off of my sidewalk into my yard with the snow in her bare hand.  So I opened the door.

Now, let me say that I think this lady may be crazy.  She mumbles and talks to herself or her dog or someone the entire time she's walking him.  And she will never acknowledge me when I say hello.  Also, she doesn't walk great, so I kind of gave her a pass.  Thought maybe she couldn't bend over very well.  But there she was bending over to wipe the $h!t off my sidewalk!

So again...I opened the door and she looked right at me and there was that moment of realization.  The "Oh $h!t, I've been caught" moment.

I said "Hi."

She said "It's so cold, don't think it will ever warm up." AND WALKED AWAY!!!

Walked away to the end of the sidewalk where she BENT OVER and picked up more snow to clean of her $h!t covered hand.

I was BOILING.  So mad that I couldn't contain myself, so I knew I had to walk away or I was going to be screaming in this old woman's face.

I thought about it all afternoon.  So mad at myself for not saying anything.  Just letting her walk away.  My only hope is now she knows that I know.  Maybe it will change her behavior, but seriously who does this $h!t in the first place?  Probably won't change a thing.

I came home last night from walking my dogs and picking up their $h!t, with a bag, not my hand...like a normal human and I saw it.  Those two little pieces of dog $h!t, right there next to my sidewalk with the dog $h!t smear on it.  It was just mocking me.  So I did what any grown adult would do.  I picked it up with my shovel and deposited it in the old woman's yard.

I'm mature and $h!t like that.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sweetest Thing

Do you remember this guy?


This weekend, Clif added pictures to an old folder on Facebook.  So this was in my feed yesterday.  I told Clif that I thought I might cry, because here he is last week...


And I just got his Kindergarten registration packet.  And he went to his first friend birthday party.  And I put away all his 4T clothes.  And he's just so big.  My little, chubby, love monster is growing up so fast.  I can't believe it.

Freddie will by 5 in about 3 weeks.  Five.  That's such a monumental age.  Everything changes at 5.  They officially become kids at 5.  No more toddler or preschooler references.  Five is big time.  Freddie can't wait to be 5.  He can't wait for Kindergarten.

Freddie rarely gets all my attention.  In fact, if you scroll through my pictures on my phone...there aren't many of him.  At least not by himself.  In my defense, part of that is because he is such a monster and it is rare that he'll sit and take a picture.

So last week, when everything was shut down for snow, and Ainsley was at a neighbor's and Daddy was putting Cohen down for a nap, Freddie and I made cookies.

Have I mentioned my baking prowess?  No?  That's because it doesn't exist.  I'm a terrible baker and I don't really enjoy it.  It's such a mess and then I'm left with all these sugary, bread-y, treats that I shouldn't eat but want to eat and it's just bad.

But when you just have one kid and his sister is making cupcakes at a friend's and he's never baked cookies all by himself with you, well you just suck it up and destroy the kitchen you just cleaned...and mopped, by the way!

Freddie kept asking "Can I add the egg?"  "Can I do the sugar?"  And I kept saying yes, you get to do it all.  He was so excited.  He's never known a life where sharing doesn't exist, where he gets all the things or all the tasks, all to himself.

So he cracked eggs and poured milk and measured sugar.


And ate a lot of cookie dough.  All by himself.


We made peanut butter cookies and pressed Reese's peanut butter hearts into them.  I was low on chocolate chips and we only had heart shaped PB cups.  It's very fitting though.  Freddie is so full of love and emotion.  You don't think that when you meet him.  He can be a little rough around the edges.  But he loves so completely.  He feels all the emotions to the fullest extent.

Plus when you press the chocolate into the hot cookie, it melts, and he definitely melts my heart.  

Side note...this cookie is atrocious!  Terrible baker.

Yesterday while at a birthday party, he had a hard time joining the group.  He wanted me to play with him.  When he finally did participate, he and a bunch of boys were running around with light sabers and pretending to be Jedi.  But every time he caught my eye, he'd stop and blow me a kiss.  Or he'd run back up the stairs and give me a hug.  



He is all heart.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Little One

Today I'm home with Cohen.  Apparently he's sick.  He ran a fever all night, but does this look like a sick kid?



It's amazing what Motrin can do.

Now he's screaming "MiMouuu!!" over and over again and bouncing with excitement as he watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  MiMouuu is Mickey Mouse in Cohen speak.

He loves this show.  He spends the entire 20 minutes calling out character names and telling me which ones are wearing hats.  Random the things that kids latch on to.  This one has a thing for hats.



I've written a lot about Ainsley lately.  Probably because she's my oldest and I always seem to worry the most about her.  Everything with her is new, whether it's a fever or learning to read.  With the boys, I guess I just feel like I have already been through it with Ainsley so it will all work out.

But I should probably write about them too.  So today I'll write about the little one with the big personality.

Cohen does not like the word no, unless he's saying it.  And when he says it, right now, it's the cutest thing ever.  But if anyone else tells him no he either ignores it and tries to accomplish the task on his own or throws himself down on the floor in a kicking, screaming tantrum.  Yeah, he's the baby.

He's way more independent than my other two.  That's bittersweet.  I guess it will be nice when he can do things for himself earlier, but it's sad that he won't just be a baby for longer.

He talks like crazy.  I think my favorite is "Me me."  Excuse me.  It took us a while to figure out what he was saying.  He says it softly at first, then when you don't respond he becomes loud and insistent.  Then you move and he goes about his day.

He's the busiest of my kids as well.  Always on the move, always doing something, rarely still.

Everything is on his terms.  He can be the sweetest little snuggler, when he wants.  When he doesn't, he'll scream in your face to back off.

This kid loves to eat.  Anything.  All fruits are "nanas."  All meals are "ninner."  But drinks are different, there's "wadrr," "mik," or "jews."  And no matter what he's eating, he always wants a "bite?" of everyone else's food.

He loves attention.  He loves to show off.  If he does something he thinks is awesome, he tells you about it.  He shows you.

He's smart.  And I know all parents say that about their kids but I'm just always amazed by him.  Maybe because he's the shortest in the house, but sometimes he does and says things that I just can't believe are coming out of that little person.

If we let him, he'll run this house.  He'll put his siblings in their place, no problem.  And the dogs?  Well, there's a love/hate relationship with them.  He loves to feed them.  He loves to give them a dozen treats a day.  He loves to walk them.  He loves to sit on them...okay, not them...Brinkley.  Gatsby trots off any time Cohen comes near.  However, Cohen hates to have the dogs anywhere near his food.  He doesn't want them in the kitchen while he's eating and he will swat at them if he is carrying a snack.  My dogs won't take food off of tables or out of hands, but anything that falls to the floor is fair game.  Cohen is not down with that rule.  If he drops something, he'll scream "buppies NO!" and throw his hand out as he squats down to pick up his snack.

Clif has referred to him as Kim Jong Cohen because he has the makings of a little dictator.

But how could he not.  Everyone does what he says.  Especially Ainsley and Freddie.  They never get mad at him, never blame him.  He is always in the right where they are concerned.  I've tried putting him in timeout and the other two just sit and console him.  Even though he doesn't even seem to care that he's in time out.  I've slapped his hand or his bottom when he's reached for the stove or an outlet, and I get scolded by Ainsley.

They are his protectors, even though I have a feeling he doesn't really need them.  Or at least won't for long.

He laughs at himself.  All. The. Time.  He's his biggest fan.  And he is funny.  He makes the rest of us laugh.

After I had Freddie, so many people said that now we had the perfect family, one girl, one boy.  True, I did have one boy and one girl and they are perfect.  But Cohen is our perfect finish.  Our cherry on top.



Thursday, February 5, 2015

Tonight

It's a huge cliche in the blogging world.  Writing a lasting and deep message about appreciating the time you have with your kids.  Not letting a moment slip by.  Enjoying those cuddles.  Savoring those messy fingerprints.  Marking each little milestone.  Because they'll all be gone.  They'll grow up and leave and you'll miss those times.

And I hate being cliche, but sometimes the weight of it all just overwhelms me and I have to put it somewhere or I'll burst.  Plus, what else is there to write about?  Vaccines?  Um, no thanks.  You thought there were wars over breast/bottle feeding, CIO or cosleep, WAH/SAH/Working mothers?  Whatever, that's nothing compared to the seething hatred that comes out over vaccinations.  You're not changing my mind, I'm not changing your mind, so I'm just going to leave that one alone.  Pretty sure the second civil war is going to erupt over that topic.

But I digress...

I climb the stairs to find Ainsley in my bed.  I stand there and stare at her for a moment.  This happens.  Probably once a week she makes her way to our room when Freddie falls asleep before her. She still hates to sleep alone.  She is exactly the same baby I brought home 7.5 years ago.

I turn off the light and climb in next to her.  I close my eyes and remember night after night of holding a tiny baby as we both fell asleep.  Night after night of spooning with a toddler, preschooler, then child.  She'll be 8 in July.  There are more nights like this behind me than in front of me.

During the day, we are knocking on the door of the tween/preteen years.  We're not there, but we're kind of on our way.  Sometimes there are tears because she feels wronged.  Sometimes she prefers to pretend she's out with friends than with her parents.  Sometimes there are slammed doors and stomps up the stairs. Sometimes she talks about imaginary boyfriends. Sometimes there are wishes to be an only child or have the life of a friend.  Sometimes I handle these emotions well, sometimes I do not.

But here in the dark, in my bed, she is still my baby.  That sweet little girl with a big heart and huge soul.  A giggle that warms my heart and a smile that lights my world.  She still hugs me every day.  She still calls me mommy...most of the time.  She still likes to cuddle with me when she sleeps.  But I know the days of shrugging off kisses and eye rolls are right around the corner.

So tonight I won't move her back. Tonight I'll smell her little girl hair like I smelled her bald baby head.  Tonight I'll hold her long fingers like I held her pudgy hands.  Tonight I'll lay here and hold her and pretend that she'll be mine forever.


Friday, January 23, 2015

I Don't Hate Many Things, but...

I'm sorry, but I have to say this...

I hate homework.  It is my least favorite part of the day.  I have tried everything to get it done, and it just sucks.

I have tried screaming and yelling, I have tried simply not caring, I have tried not doing it at all, I have tried doing it before we pick up other kids, I have tried doing it while I cook dinner, I have tried doing it before bed.  There is no good time.

So now here's where all the teachers hate me, and I have A LOT of teacher friends.  I went to Longwood...hello!

Why the hell does my 2nd grader need to do homework?

She spends 7 hours a day in a classroom.  She spends 3 hours at home every night.  In that 3 hours we must eat dinner.  We also take a bath most nights.  We try to read books.  We like to play.  And these are nights that we have nothing else going on...no errands to run, no practice to go to.

So how in the world am I supposed to also fit in 20 minutes of homework with a child that does not want to do homework because she's been doing work all day in the classroom?  And by the way, it is not 20 minutes.  Last night, it was almost an hour!!!  One third of my night!

I already know what you're going to say.  Teachers don't have time to teach everything that needs to be taught to stick with state standards.  Am I right?  Well, I don't care!!!!  And I'm not screaming at the teachers here.  I love the teachers in my life and I know how hard the work.

So I'm screaming at the system.  It's ridiculous!!!

Last night, we come home and sit down to do homework before we pick up the boys.  She is not focused.  She wants to eat a snack and talk about other things but we don't have time to eat a snack and talk about other things.  Because we have to draw a stupid graph about storms.  And then write all the facts we possibly can about them in the graph.  I read the directions to her 5 times, she read them, she still did it wrong.  Because she's totally not interested.  Her brain has been working all day, she wants a break and I don't blame her.

I don't go home and get on my work email.  Why should she have to come home and do more school work?

And while we were reading the packet about storms, she kept just telling me all these random facts about storms that were correct and not in the mandatory reading book.  So obviously, she has learned something in school about storms, because I assure you, we do not sit around the dinner table discussing Tornado Alley and Hurricanes forming over the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico during warm months.

So after a half an hour of reading this packet, and then 20 minutes of pushing her and begging her to do the graph right...I said screw it, she obviously knows the stuff.

I try to take that attitude with homework, but it's hard.  I don't want her to fall behind, because even though she knows about storms, she doesn't do as well with math.

I really don't know what the answer is.  Any advice?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Faking Confidence

Parenting is the hardest job I've ever had.  I think a lot of people would agree with that statement.  I have a job, sometimes it is hard and busy and sometimes it is not and I can write a blog post :)

But parenting, never leaves my thoughts.  I become consumed with how I'm raising my kids, am I doing it right, will they be screwed up forever, how do I avoid mistakes that will turn them into horrible/sad/asshole/(insert any terrible description here) people?

I know in my head that kids become their parents.  I am so like my mom.  In so many ways.  I don't really look like her and we don't really have the same personality.  I can be very moody (like my dad), I rarely see her in a bad mood.  I can wallow (like my dad), I never see her do that.  Sometimes I feel like the whole world is against me and things are unfair (like my dad), but I rarely hear my mom complain.  But sometimes I'll hear my voice or catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror or in a picture and it almost takes my breath away at how much I am like her.

So one day, Ainsley will probably think the same thing.  How do I make sure that she ends up with the best parts of me?

I have never had the best self-esteem.  I don't have a lot of confidence in myself.  I'm shy and I often worry about drawing attention to myself.  I make excuses.  I never admit to being good at anything.  I never want someone to think I'm loud or obnoxious, so I stay quiet.  I do not take compliments well.

But I wasn't always that way.

As a kid, I loved to put on shows and act in plays and sing in church.  Anything to get on stage and draw attention.  And better yet, I thought I was amazing at all of it.  At some point that stopped and I just wanted to be invisible.  I wasn't bullied, wasn't picked on more than any other kid, wasn't abused.  No mega trauma happened in my life.  Yet right around middle school, my whole personality changed.  I can remember walking through the halls and just trying to blend into the walls so no one would talk to me or notice me.

High school was the same.  I can barely remember any kids from high school.  There are a few that I was friends with and there are a few others that I am Facebook friends with.  But this year is my 20 year reunion (sidenote: WTF?!?!?  How is that possible?) and I ended up in the Facebook group and I have no recollection of these people.  I've been looking them up in my yearbook to try and remember faces.  And I can, with 100% certainty, tell you that they have no idea who I am either.  Because in high school, I perfected being invisible.  Never too good or too smart or too friendly, but not bad either.  Just right down that average line.

I'm getting off on a tangent here, because this post isn't about me and my issues.  It's about Ainsley.

My girl, who is so full of energy and happiness and sunshine.  So totally over the moon about herself.  She can stare at herself in the mirror for hours if I let her (I did the same).  She loves to sing and dance (so did I).  She'll try anything.  Loves to be the center of attention.  Adores pictures and videos of herself.  She even has started her own "how to" video series.  All her idea.  This girl has so much confidence...

but...

Lately, she's been saying things.  She and Freddie will play a video game and she'll quit, saying "I'm not good at that, Freddie is way better than me."  She and a friend will do cartwheels or rolls and she'll want to stop saying "I can't do those."

And then, at the end of one of her videos...How to make Mint Chocolate Cupcakes...she was icing a cupcake all by herself for the first time ever.  And on video she said "So this one I put green icing on...it looks horrible I know, because I'm terrible at it."

And my heart broke.  Tears stung my eyes.  Because here she was being so brave to do something she had never done, on camera, to post to You Tube, and she was talking about how bad she was at it...

Just. Like. Me.

And in that moment, it finally sank in.  Something I've known since I was pregnant with her.  Something I've tried to instill.  But something I have never practiced in front of  her.  I can not expect to make her a strong, independent, confident woman unless I show it to her.

So really this is a post about my issues, because I can't let them become Ainsley's.  It's not easy to change 30 years of doubting myself, judging myself, criticizing myself for every move.  But I'm trying.  And I'll keep trying until I truly believe it so Ainsley can keep her confidence.

Here's her first video..."How To Brush Your Teeth and Hair"...more to come.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Non New Year's Resolutions

I don't make New Year's Resolutions.  There are 3 reasons.

#1 - All the normal stuff that people resolve to do, I am always doing every day of the year.  Okay, so no, I do not always eat healthy and I barely have time to exercise and sometimes I use a credit card...but for the most part, I am always trying to be healthier, trying to work out, trying to keep our finances in check.

#2 - Setting a New Year's Resolution is just setting yourself up to fail.  All the hype and excitement that comes from the New Year fades and you're left feeling like a failure.  And if you're in to making New Year's resolutions, you have to wait a whole year to start again.

#3 - It's only for a year.  If I change myself, I want to do it for the better and for always.

So I don't make New Year's Resolutions.

I do, however, make non-exciting, non-holiday resolutions all the time.

First up, I'm trying to blog more.  I probably resolve to do this once a month.  But I'm now putting it in my blog, so I'm responsible for it.  I think about blogging all the time.  I mean, like every couple hours of every day I think about writing a blog post.  It's just the actual time it takes to sit down and do it that I have trouble pushing through.  So now, if you don't see a blog post in awhile, nag me.  Do it, I'm giving you permission.

Second, I'm going to get healthy.  You would think that chasing after three kids and never sitting down at home, and being up until 11pm at night would keep me active and healthy.  You'd be wrong.  I am currently at my heaviest (non-pregnant) weight ever.  And weight doesn't matter, I keep telling myself that.  But it does if you feel unhealthy, and I do feel unhealthy.  I sit all day at work.  I sleep less than 6 hours most nights.  We eat "conveniently" more than I'd like.  Clif bought me a Jawbone Up for Christmas.  And it has made me realize how much I don't move.  How bad I eat at times.  How little and lightly I sleep.  I need to make better changes.

Third, I don't want to be so self-involved.  I think I am a compassionate person.  But I don't really show that to people.  Honestly, I am busy.  I am going from 5 am until 9 pm Monday through Friday.  Then the weekends are left to catch up on housework and errands and any kind of fun family time.  I don't volunteer, I don't donate, I don't even send freaking birthday cards.  My focus is always on me and my family.  It's happened because I run out of time, but I need to fix it.  I need to pay more attention to the life around me.  I try to be a good friend, I try to pay it forward.  But damn, it is hard to find the focus and the energy and the time to be all of that.  So I am going to try and send birthday cards and I am going to try and do one random kind thing a month.  It's the only way I'm going to raise my kids to be good people.  I can be a good person in my head all I want, but until I actually do something...I'm just a jackass.

Finally, and this is big and this is one reason my resolutions are not of the New Year's contingent.  I want to write a book.  I know it won't be this year.  It probably won't be next year.  It may not be until Cohen is married.  But I want to start laying the foundation.  I want to actually put it my head that I'm going to write a book and take steps to make it happen.  I've wanted to be a writer for a gazillion years.  Writing does not pay my bills.  So I work in jobs that I never love.  I want to make sure that I'm doing something I love, even if I'm not getting paid and even if I have to do something else to survive.

So those are my resolutions.  Ones I've been thinking about or acting on for months now.  Do you make New Year's Resolutions?  Or do you make any-time-I-want resolutions?
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