Tag Archives: Happy Mama

Feeling Good

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I’ve been working really hard on keeping really good habits, though I’ve realized that I have to do it at my own pace. I figured it out after a few dozen organizational websites or motivational Pinterest thingies that I can’t just follow someone else’s idea of what will work, not even really if I get to adjust things and “make it my own.”

I’m not sure if that made any sense at all, and I’m sorry if it didn’t. My brain is currently working on tangents and run-on sentences. 馃檪 I’ll do my best to explain…

You guys may remember my post back in March about how gung-ho I was about following a little printed-out binder full of cutesy reminders of what I should be cleaning each day and then magically at the end of 20 days, my house was supposed to be perfect and I was supposed to have the skills and habits of a swell housewife who probably even took off her husbands shoes as soon as he got home from work everyday to give him a nice foot rub. Yeah, that happened.

Well, I did the first two days, not the foot rubbing part, but then I gave up completely. It was probably something ridiculous like, “But I don’t want to clean the bathroom today, I want to organize my closet!” and then I just decided that the whole thing was stupid.

Since then, I’ve tried a ton of different ideas and “systems” – and I even considered spending a couple buckaroos on the Unfuck Your Habitat app because it just sounded like something that would be right up my alley and it would probably share the same disgruntled views of this housey job that I’ve got. Would that be an Unfuck your Habitapp? Either way, I digress, as I do, and that’s why we’re here anyway… But I didn’t want to waste a valuable dollar and ninety-nine cents on an adorable app that would likely only keep me going for a day and a half.

So last week a good friend of mine (another stay at home mama) said something about putting her shoes on to get ready for cleaning the house earlier that day. Uh, what? So she started talking to me about this Flylady thing that a friend of hers had told her about, and that it was really helping her. Apparently one of the main steps of the day to keep your house feeling happy and clean is to get dressed first thing in the morning, including your shoes, I guess to keep you from completely relaxing. The whole, you wear shoes to “real” work outside of the house, so help your brain associate that with work at home, and only take off your shoes and relax at the end of the workday. Man have I been doing it wrong this whole time! 馃槈

Well, I tried that for a day, as well as a few other steps that I found on the website, like shining your faucets after every time you use them??? But I still wanted to sit on my couch after I put in a load of laundry and stay there until WAY PAST when the dryer went off. Facebook, blog, all sorts of super important things to do, it didn’t matter that I still had on my knee-high lace-up leather and fur boots on, I was going to relax if I wanted to. I just kicked up my boots onto my cluttered coffee table, and went about my lazy day.

Ok, so screw this, I can figure this out on my own! For the entire past week, since the day after I wore my apocalypse boots all around the house, I’ve managed to keep dirty dishes out of the sink entirely. They go straight to the dishwasher, and the dishwasher gets run (gets ran, is run, I don’t know…) as soon as I can’t fit the next thing in it or as soon as all of one thing (like plates or something) is dirty. Then, as soon as the dishwasher is done, everything gets put away immediately.

Also, all trash is thrown out as soon as it is made. It really helps that Doodle LOVES taking things to the trash, so I’ve gotten him to where he’ll actually call me out on putting a small piece of trash on the coffee table or leaving the mac&cheese box on the counter, then he’ll happily take it to the trash for me.

Our normal, have-to-use-daily clutter now goes into a canvas box basket thingy that we originally got to hold Doodle’s cloth diapers. The box stays on the coffee table, and is a convenient “I don’t know where to put this right now” spot. And every few days, or whenever I notice that it takes more than a few seconds to find something in it, I just clean it out. Mainly, I end up fishing out random toys Doodle hid in there or cleaning out Jake’s work pocket trash that he dumps in there every day after work. Hey – at least he’s not leaving it in there so that it ends up in the washer every time… I’ll take what I can get here. 馃檪

Speaking of the washer – I spent a whole day catching up on laundry, and now I’ve got a small basket downstairs in front of the washer and a small basket upstairs in our room. Upstairs laundry goes in upstairs basket, downstairs laundry, downstairs basket. As soon as one of them is full, they’re both dumped in the washer, and they get washed, dried, folded, hung, and put away right then.

I also moved my furniture around and was able to vacuum everything that hasn’t been accessible since we moved in two and a half years ago. I didn’t exactly move the furniture around just to vacuum – I’ve been seriously feeling stuck, and rearranging the living room helps me feel like I’m in a new place. That’s the wanderlust gene my loving father passed down to me. Thanks, dad. But the living room is super fun (I can’t wait for Jake to get home tonight to see what he thinks) and the entire floor is super clean – or, you know, as clean as my awful vacuum can make it.

I need to overhaul the bathrooms tomorrow, but it really wasn’t that long ago that I did that anyway, and we’ve actually been doing really good at keeping up on that without even really thinking about it.

Other than that, all I really need to work on is getting in a good method of keeping cooked meat things available for the carnivorous hubby who isn’t home at typical meal times while also providing my vegetarian self and my picky little man with nourishment, all without spending the entire day everyday in the kitchen. I recently realized that I’ve got one of those 3-part crock pot guys in my garage, so I think I’m going to try to figure out how to use those without burning down my house, and I think I’ll be able to do a decent job at just making different versions of whatever I may be cooking all at the same time to appease all of us.

I haven’t touched the coffee cup sweaters, and I’m fairly certain that it’s a completely lost cause to finish them and get them to my friend in time for Christmas shopping. But I’ll keep them sitting here, just in case, you know, I get the intense need to crochet one day after I’ve finished cleaning everything, while my pots are crocking, and I’ve already gone through all of the Facebooking, blogging, and youtubing that I’ve needed to for the day.

This is becoming a long post, sorry, deal with it. Or don’t. Either way. 馃檪

Doodle ’bout freaked me out the other day when I got off the phone and found this:

Look mama - I got Link's ears on!

Look mama – I got Link’s ears on!

He had taken it upon himself to use every last drop of spirit gum to get his elf ears on by himself. Nevermind that we used every drop of the spirit gum remover it came with to get off the teeny amount we used on Halloween because THAT SHIT DOESN’T COME OFF! Jake took one look and said, “Oh god, we’re going to have to cut it,” in the most calm and collected (and obviously overcompensating for the incredible surge of emotions going through him) manner with this pale face and deer in headlights look.

A quick and frantic google lead me to a possible solution, so I grabbed the leftover baby oil (that we kept since his baby shower when he was an infant and we never actually used it – see, it pays to keep things forever!) and doused him. It was listed as a “maybe, it might work, you could try it and hope for the best?” kind of solution in the forum I happened upon – but holy goodness that stuff practically DISSOLVES spirit gum. He had giant globs of it on his jeans, I squirted some baby oil on it, rubbed it in a little, and it was GONE – incredibly oily, but gone nonetheless. After a pretty intense hair-brushing session and several baths to get residual oiliness gone, his hair is TOTALLY intact, the spirit gum is gone, and we have learned our lesson of putting prosthetic accessories away and out of reach after we’re done with them.

‘Til next time, folks. It’s been fun. 馃檪

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Happy Father’s Day!

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Happy day to all of you awesome dads out there!

Jake is an amazing dad. He works full time, often times pulling overtime shifts to help a little further with extra expenses. He’s also聽taking full-time college classes, not taking breaks in the summer so as to finish his degree faster with which he will work even longer and harder hours. He rarely goes out with friends on evenings he can find a few spare minutes. He doesn’t have anywhere near the amount of video game time he was always used to, nor the funds for the newest of games or the best of technology that we had when that was the only thing we cared to spend our extra cash on.

When he is home (and not working on school assignments or reading), he’s tossing Doodle around, making him one of his favorite sandwiches, or giving him a bath, brushing his teeth, and taking him to bed. He fully takes on our constant-education approach by talking about various letters and聽sounds in words we say, counting anything they’re looking at that can be counted, or teaching him new words or different ways to use existing words. Even when he’s tired, he’ll still sit with Doodle on his lap playing games with him on the tablet or making sure he’s interacting with Little Einsteins or Word World when the cartoon asks him questions.

Jake does everything he does 100%: full-time work, full-time school, full-time dad, full-time husband. He doesn’t have much left to be full-time Jake outside of any of that, yet he takes it all on with complete dedication and love. For that, I’m continually amazed and overwhelmingly grateful.

What’s really wonderful about this year’s Father’s Day is that he’s FINALLY almost in his new position at work (which he’s been waiting patiently for since February) where he’ll have his own office WITH HIS OWN DESK! He’s NEVER had this before, always working in places where a desk is shared with other coworkers, and where it’s rarely been able to be sat down at and used. He’s very excited about this, as now he can have his own coffee cup sitting on it that he uses each day and he can place pictures and knick-knacks on it that he can look at throughout a rough day to remind him why he works so hard.

With that in mind, Doodle and I set out to make him something that聽he can be excited to place on his desk –聽something that clearly says how much Doodle and I care about him. Doodle loves dragons, I love plants – let’s put the two together… but let’s also make sure that if Jake’s super busy at work for a few days, that it will do just fine with a little bit of neglect. 馃槈

Doodle picked a red and green succulent for our present.

Doodle picked a red and green succulent for our present.

He then picked out one of the dragons we got him for his birthday.  He was SO excited that we'd be giving it to Daddy!

He then picked out one of the dragons we got him for his birthday. He was SO excited that we’d be giving it to Daddy!

I cut a hole in his back, and Doodle had to inspect it to make sure it would work.

I cut a hole in his back, and Doodle had to inspect it to make sure it would work.

We shoved some dirt into the hole...

We shoved some dirt into the hole…

Then we stuffed the plant into our little dragon pot.

Then we stuffed the plant into our little dragon pot.

Doodle watered it to clean off the excess dirt.

Doodle watered it to clean off the excess dirt.

Then he showed off his creation.

Then he showed off his creation.

There it is! A dragon plant for dad!

So I Went a Little Overboard… Happy Birthday Doodle!

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Doodle turned 3 last Wednesday. Where in the world did the time go? I swear, this parenting stuff gets harder and harder as time goes and you realize how much is already over. Gone. Done. No more of my darling 2-year-old saying “wuv” and “hopadoctor.” No more of my 1-year-old boy wobbling around learning his new walking skills. No more of my 3-month-old passed out on my chest and drooling down my shirt… Ok, that one had some cons so I’m not terribly missing it!聽 But newborn baby cuddles are the best, and they’re gone.

But seriously, I have a 3-year-old now! I have an independent, strong-willed, and fearless Doodle-monster now. Safety is of minimal concern to him, new discipline tactics need to be tried regularly as old ones have lost their umph, and opinions are expressed very vocally regardless of my level of exhaustion or headache. But honestly,聽the fun doesn’t stop, and it seems to just keep getting better! New wonders are discovered daily, and his growing motor skills make for much cooler playtime. It’s really the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced, no matter how done with being a mama I may get every few days. I look forward to watching him learn and grow every single day.

So anyway – along with a 3rd birthday, Doodle just had his 3rd birthday party. And as many of you have probably learned, I threw myself into a pretty good anxiety attack a few weeks ago, neglected household duties the past month or so, and had an outrageous amount of work I had to get done. I’m sure you’ve all been hanging off the edge of your chairs to see the fruits of my labor, so here you go…

All-in-all, we had 16 kiddos and 16 adults. Not quite as many as I was anticipating, but it was an absolute blast!

Dragon head pears.

Dragon head pears.

See those ADORABLE dragons hanging from the umbrella?!

See those ADORABLE dragons hanging from the umbrella?!

Doodle totally diggin' his dragon party.

Doodle totally diggin’ his dragon party.

Goodies!

Goodies!

So I’ll stop here and let you know what all’s on that table: coffee/dirt dough dragon eggs, teeny tiny adorable crocheted dragons, gold bars filled with candy, gold and jewels, sticky dragons, and clothespin dragons with fruit snack wings.

Passing out the dragon eggs.

Passing out the dragon eggs.

Helping Ling and Doodle open up their eggs.

Helping Ling and Doodle open up their eggs.

How fun those eggs look when you open 'em up!  The kids were crazy excited to hatch baby dragons.

How fun those eggs look when you open ’em up! The kids were crazy excited to hatch baby dragons.

So there was also a slip and slide, little dragon pool (ok, so it was actually an alligator – but we can pretend!), sandbox filled with dragons, gold and jewels (you know, because dragons horde treasure), and the swingset, of course. We also did a dragon pi帽ata!

Ling having a BLAST on the slip and slide!

Ling having a BLAST on the slip and slide!

Doodle whacking his pi帽ata!

Doodle whacking his pi帽ata! See how I made the stick a sword? 馃檪

CANDY!!!

CANDY!!! (Sidenote – after most every kid got at least two turns of whacking this thing a good three or four times each, Jake had to come over and break it open!)

And Doodle really didn't care about any of the candy that spilled out once he found a sucker.  Sat here for 10 minutes munching on this while all of the other kids nabbed all the candy!

And Doodle really didn’t care about any of the candy that spilled out once he found a sucker. Sat here for a good 10 minutes munching on this while all of the other kids nabbed the聽rest of the candy!

So, you guys ready for the cake? I don’t know, I was kinda trying to push this off as long as I could… Ok, how’s this? 聽I’ll just walk you through making it. We started here:

Just some lumps of cake, right?

Just some lumps of cake, right?

Then I blended up all of those pieces that I shaved off to get my lumps-o-cake along with a little bit of extra frosting, ended up with what was essentially pre-chewed cake mush, and did this:

Do you kinda see where this is going?

Do you kinda see where this is going?

I made me some fondant (powdered sugar, marshmallows and dye), and started decorating.

Wait a second, Kortney - what are you doing with all of those circles???

Wait a second, Kortney – what are you doing with all of those circles???

I got all those (and what seemed like 500 more) circles all placed just so, added a few other colors of fondant for various features, and ended with this:

Yeah, that's right, people.  I made an effing dragon!  Scales and all!

Yeah, that’s right, people. I made an EFFING DRAGON! Scales and all!

LOOK-IT-MUH-CAKE!!!  Made it 100% by myself!  I'm little bit proud, if you can't tell.  :)

LOOK-IT-MUH-CAKE!!! Made it 100% by myself! I’m a聽little bit proud, if you couldn’t tell. 馃檪

Doodle ADORED his cake!  Notice how the candles are coming out of his mouth?  He's breathing fire, guys!!!  :)

Doodle ADORED his cake! Notice how the candles are coming out of his mouth? He’s breathing fire, guys!!! 馃檪

Doodle got the whole head all to himself.  It's literally half a sheet of cake.  I was a little nervous...

Doodle got the whole head all to himself. It’s literally half a sheet of cake. I was a little nervous…

Luckily he just demolished it.  Got a few good bites in, but mainly just tore the head apart in a fit of dragon birthday excitement!

Luckily he just demolished it. Got a few good bites in, but mainly just tore the head apart in a fit of dragon birthday excitement!

All in all, it was an absolutely amazing day! The weather was perfect, our friends and family are great, and the kids had a blast! I’d like to think that next May I won’t dig myself into an anxiety attack over whatever ridiculous theme we’ve come up with by then, but that’s just not likely. Depending on what he’s crazy into next year, I may just end up thinking it’d be a good idea to build a pirate ship in the backyard or build a dinosaur dig site in our gorgeous lawn. Please, help convince me next year not to do those things. 馃檪

By the way, Jake’s curious – at what age would it be appropriate聽to have聽a zombie birthday party? We’re talking, like, brain and limbs being eaten by zombie head and torso red velvet cake, gooey-bloody-decaying goodness everywhere, crocheted bloody body parts in the goodie bags… I say 7, what are your thoughts?

It’ll Only Take Two Hours

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Jake and I love building things.

I mean, we’ve really only ever totally “built” one thing – but it was an amazing cart that folded up to be able to perfectly fit into the trunk of our old Kia Rio (seriously tiny car) that we used for a Rainbow Gathering (hippie camping love). It barely took up any room, so we could still pack everything we needed on top of it! And we made the plan 100% ourselves, and we did all of the figuring and measuring and cutting and screwing and finagling together as an amazing wood-stuffs-making team.

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And that’s it. That’s why we *love* building things. We VERY successfully built the first thing we ever tried building. I mean, sure, we had played with legos and put together little wooden and plastic models of things before. I’m sure Jake built a birdhouse in cub scouts or something. We’ve assembled furniture and things. But we BUILT this cart, see.

That was almost four years ago, however. (Fun fact – we made it a year, to the day, before Doodle came into our lives.) And we haven’t really had the resources or motivation to build anything since. Until I found the coolest thing in the world that we absolutely had to make!

It was one of the first things I saw when I started using Pinterest about a year and a half ago. A sandbox with benches that unfolds into a cover. Or a sandbox with a cover that folds into benches. Whichever works best for you. But we were broker than broke –聽had just been through three different moves in four months. I originally just wanted to but it for him whenever funds got back to a good place, but then we found plans to build it. We had a project! We had the motivation, but we were still missing the resources.

Skip ahead to the present –聽preparing for a 3rd birthday. We needed to figure out something we could get/make for Doodle. It had to be big. It had to be awesome. I skimmed through my “Crafty Stuffs” board on Pinterest. There at the very bottom was the plan for the聽sandbox! We could do it. We had to!

Jake took off some (much needed) time from work between his聽Spring and Summer semesters of school, and we knew that this was the only time we’d really be able to devote the time and energy into it. I looked at the plans, read all of the comments on it, got a list of materials we’d need, and let Jake know how easy this thing would be and how fast it would go.

“It’ll only take two hours!”

He laughed at my estimate, I laughed at his disbelief.

Two hours and聽another trip to the hardware store later, he had grown tired of sanding the 24 boards needed to complete the assembly, so he moved on to staining聽the聽first half of the聽boards. I have no positive experiences with power tools, and he used to be a professional painter, so most of the beginning stuff was all his job. (I mean, I did clear out the 4 foot by 4 foot square in the rock bed while he was working…)聽 Another hour or so and we were done for the night. The next day,聽the rest of the wood was sanded and stained in the first two hours of working.聽 (We are totally aware of the fact that at this point you should really wait until the stain has had plenty of time to cure, but we’re impatient and it was already pressure-treated wood anyway,聽so we weren’t too terribly concerned about it.聽 Mainly just wanted the wood to be a little prettier.)

Ok, so we’re a little over my estimate at this point, but this is where the fun really begins! (And, in all honesty, this is where my estimate actually started anyway!)

We got the base put together, and Doodle was crazy excited. He knew that聽we were making a sandbox, but when we put the base on its side, he darted into it and started dancing.

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I briefly considered just stopping here, maybe making a few braces for the bottom to keep聽it standing聽up, and giving Doodle a stage for his birthday. But we needed to press forward – we were SO CLOSE! Plus, what would we do with the other 20 sanded and stained 2×4’s that were perfectly measured to fit on his new stage?

We continued working, stopping again for one more quick trip to the hardware store because APPARENTLY I can’t count and聽we聽needed more screws. We got the pieces hinged together, put some handles on, threw in a few hundred pounds of sand, and gave Doodle his early birthday present.

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Happy it’s almost your birthday, Doodle! Now, if you don’t mind, just stay in that sandbox for the next three weeks while mommy frantically tries to make as many dragon-related things as she possibly can for the 20+ chitlins that will be invading our backyard for your special day and daddy returns to work, picks up a few double shifts to help pay for your shenanigans, and starts up his summer semester.

Total time spent buying, prepping, and building – probably close to聽9 hours. Total time spent “building” – 2. Sure, I was right, but Jake was absolutely right to laugh at me.

Why I’m a Mama

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This morning hasn’t exactly been a “typical” Mother’s Day. Hubby was off to work before we even woke up – never mind sleeping in, breakfast in bed, or waking up to adorable Doodle-made gifts and a beautiful bouquet of flowers. That’s not to say that聽those things won’t come; I do have an amazing husband who loves me and appreciates me more than I ever thought possible, and I also have a Doodle who’s heart is kinder than any I’ve come across. I’m sure the two of them will make this afternoon/evening amazing for me – but this morning, this is why I’m a mama:

Doodle was stoked to give me my present this morning.

Doodle was stoked to give me my present this morning.

A beautiful bouquet of flowers.  And, it kind of doubles as a handmade gift!

A beautiful bouquet of flowers. And, it kind of doubles as a handmade gift!

I just can't get enough of this face!

I just can’t get enough of this face!

He even offered me some of the breakfast I "made" him...

He even offered me a bite of his breakfast. He’s so sweet!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mamas! I hope you all get crumpled dandelions and bites of Cinnamon Toast Crunch as well.

Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with an Emphasis in Criminology and a Double Minor in Philosophy and Psychology

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If you had told me – say, 6 years ago – that the young聽man聽I was dating聽would enroll in college after we got married and聽made a聽baby,聽I would’ve laughed in your face.聽 Had you continued on to say that he would聽go for聽a bachelor’s degree in sociology with an emphasis in criminology and a double minor in philosophy and psychology, I would’ve had you institutionalized.

But that’s exactly what he had me looking up for him today while he was at work.聽 That’s what I聽figured for him聽all day while Doodle watched and rewatched Henry Hugglemonster.聽 Apparently my husband, who has always detested everything that even sounded like school, loves learning.聽 I mean, I know he loves learning.聽 I’ve always known that聽he loves聽learning.聽 But not like this.聽 Not at all like this.聽 He literally wants to fill every available elective credit spot (and trust me, there’s a ton of elective space available – it’s a degree in sociology!) with enough philosophy and psychology to add more words聽to his degree.

How amazing聽that my聽wonderful husband聽works full time to keep a roof over our head and food in our bellies and then聽wants to completely fill any amount of free time with a degree this extensive just so he can move up in his chosen field and work even harder.聽 All while I play all聽day聽with an incredibly well-behaved聽toddler (is he almost too big for me to call him that?) and occasionally do some laundry and dishes.聽 I’m amazed, literally.聽 And he’s happy.聽 Happy to come home, happy to go to school, happy to go to work, happy to have time with our聽family, happy to relax in the back yard with friends, happy to play video games, and happy to turn off his games to do homework.聽 Just plain happy.聽 And it makes me happy.聽 And I do love being happy.聽 馃檪

In other news, Doodle has now gone a full week of dry underoo-clad naps!聽 馃檪聽 And he’s gotten a ton of peppermints all week because of it.聽 You know those soft peppermints you get at Christmas time – yeah, this kid digs those things and if that keeps him from making me buy more diapers, I’m all for bribery!聽 And his language is getting incredible!聽 And he’s sounding out and spelling words like dog, cat, pig, and bed with his letter magnets on the fridge!聽 I mean, he watches Word World a lot, and there’s a dog, cat, and pig on the show, and I can think of at least three different episodes where they specifically spelled and created a bed, so I’m sure most of it is just repetition and memory, but still!聽 That’s repetition and memory of letters, letter sounds, and words!

But with my big boy growing and learning so much, we’ve come to a sad understanding – other than the fact that he no longer says hopadoctor聽instead of聽helicopter – Jake and I are officially dad and mom.聽 Take a moment and sigh with me.聽 We can’t even threaten him with tickles ’til he stops breathing to get him to聽call us mommy or daddy just one more time!聽 I’m sure it’s just a phase – I hope it’s just a phase.聽 At least let me be mama!聽 I can’t do this mom business.聽 Not yet!聽 That’s too close to, “Mom, can I borrow the car keys?”

I think we’ve settled on dragons for the birthday, which is good because I have my work cut out for me if I want to make myself even more frazzled than I did last year.聽 His birthday’s in a month and a half…聽 Gosh, how did he get to be almost 3 already?!聽 So now I’ve got to get the party stuff going, the invitations and聽all of the party聽favors and fun activities and such (not to mention the cake!), I still need to finish that uterus (I know!聽 I’m such a slacker) and get a few of those headbands done for my midwife friend, get a whole bunch of curtains聽sewn up聽for another wonderful聽friend of mine, and build a sandbox for Doodle’s birthday.聽 Hopefully all of these things can happen soon.聽 馃檪聽 And I know I can’t ask Jake for much help.聽 But that’s ok – he works hard so I can do all of these wonderful things that make me happy.

So anyway, if I’m not around a lot, this is why.聽 I still love you all, and I will try my darndest to continue commenting on your blogs.聽 And if anything outlandish or amazing happens, I’ll make sure to tell you all.

Where’s the Moon, Mommy?

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The moon was late tonight.

Since he learned about the moon, Doodle has always wanted to see it if we were ever outside while it was dark.聽聽Those beginning聽glances would open wide his sleepy eyes as we聽walked聽in from the car.聽 His little voice would beam,聽“The moon!” and his blanket would fall as his tiny arm stretched out聽as far as it could.聽 He’s never gotten over that.

There have been plenty of nights when we haven’t been out, though, as well as聽nights when the sky was overcast, the moon was new, and even a few聽complete no-shows.聽 Moonless nights have not been entirely uncommon.聽 There have also been聽a couple聽of midday sightings.聽 That tricky moon!

But tonight, it was different.

We left Hippie Mama and Ling’s house late and, as we walked to the car, Doodle searched for the moon.

“Where’s the moon, Mommy?”

“I don’t know, Doodle.聽 Maybe it’s hiding.聽 We’ll look for it as we drive to pick up Daddy.”

We looked and we looked, but there was no moon.聽 Doodle seemed content to marvel聽at the stars.聽 The view out there is amazing.

A few minutes down the road, when he was sure he had looked at every possible聽angle from his carseat in the back, Doodle asked again, more concerned this time.

“Where’s the moon, Mommy?”

“I don’t know, Doodle.”

“I don’t see it.”

“I don’t see it either.”

“Let’s find the moon and give it to the stars.”

Spring Break!

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As you know, hubby works a full-time job and he’s been in full-time school since January. Since that started, he hasn’t had a single day off. It’s either been work, school, or both. Well, his Spring Break was this week – I guess it technically still is Spring Break, but he works Saturday and Sunday, so yesterday and today were like a real weekend for us! Two whole days off, seriously amazing stuff right there.

Brother-in-law got us back on Thursday for having watched his little guy for him a month or so ago. We were able to drive to a bigger town (still a small podunk town, but let me have this moment!) to catch a movie and eat a nice dinner, all without having to take our little guy to the potty, hold his hand to cross the street, or shush him when he got a little too loud. Movie AND dinner! We even stopped at the store on the way home and picked up a few things for the house in a peaceful, slow, hand-holding manner. 馃檪

Then today, we got some shit done! We worked a lot on our back yard, picked up all sorsta toys and broken bits and pieces that our big-dumb-dog had torn up and strewn across the lawn all winter long. Got an automatic timer guy for our sprinklers and actually set it up. Fertilized the lawn, re-seeded some spots that we screwed up last year,聽and ground-cleared the weeds.聽Cleaned out the stuff drawer, the important stuff drawer, the Doodle stuff drawer, and the craft stuff cabinet. And organized the coat/shoe closet, the catch-all thing on our counter, and above the fridge.

And then, because apparently we can accomplish A TON on a single day off, we even had time to go fly a super awesome Spider-Man kite at the park.

It's a super awesome Spider-Man kite, don't you think?

It’s a super awesome Spider-Man kite, don’t you think?

"Helping" dad tangle the cord.

“Helping” dad tangle the cord.

Dad starting to get it flying!

Dad starting to get it flying!

Doodle was in total awe of his kite in the air.

Doodle was in total awe of his kite in the air.

Just taking a moment to pat my photography skills on the back...  :)

Just taking a moment to pat my photography skills on the back… 馃檪

A great shot showing how high that thing got!  I had NO IDEA kites got so high...

A great shot showing how high that thing got! I had NO IDEA kites got so high…

Doodle flying it by himself, maybe trying to catch the kite out of the sky?

Doodle flying it by himself, maybe trying to catch the kite out of the sky?

Mama even got a chance to fly it!  (Mama's never really flown kites before)

Mama even got a chance to fly it! (Mama’s never really flown kites before)

As Doodle and I were flying the kite, Jake was super awesome and actually took pictures of me!  :)

As Doodle and I were flying the kite, Jake was super awesome and actually took pictures of me! 馃檪

Oh! And I even started on that uterus!

This is the beginning of the cervix, in case you were wondering.  :)

This is the beginning of the cervix, in case you were wondering. 馃檪

All in all, amazing Spring Break weekend.

Nuances

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Doodle has been calling me “Mommy (everything under the sun)” lately.聽 I’ve been Mommy Captain Hook, Mommy window, Mommy Slyfox, Mommy yogurt.聽 And when he calls me “Mommy something”, I have to respond “Doodle something”.聽 I love you Mommy apple juice, I love you too, Doodle apple juice.聽 Night-night Mommy monster, night-night Doodle monster.

So, we go up just a bit ago to wake up聽Jake from his nap.聽 Jake is trying like the dickens to stay in that bed no matter what, so he convinces Doodle to start聽rubbing his back so Daddy can go back to sleep.聽 I insist that he tickle Daddy’s back instead, so that Daddy has to get up.聽 We go back and forth telling Doodle what to do, he’s enjoying every minute of聽us goofing off.聽 Doodle is tickling Daddy’s back, and he says “Now I tickle his front!”聽 I’ve been really admiring the various new ways he’s been learning his language, so I really love how he said “front” (as聽in the聽opposite聽of聽back) rather than “chest” (as in the other side of his torso).聽 I say to Jake as he’s laying there, now getting tickled on his front, “I just聽love his little nuances!”

Doodle responds, clear as crystal, “I love you too, Mommy nuances!”

The Mother My Son Deserves

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Doodle is my world, if you haven’t figured that one out by now.聽 I’m completely smitten, absolutely obsessed, in so many ways completely and utterly in love with this guy.聽 I want the very best for him in all of his life.聽 I come to terms regularly, however, with the fact that I am in no way the mother he deserves.聽 I’m lazy, I’m selfish, and I just don’t know a whole helluva a lot of what it takes to be a good mother.

My little man deserves a mother who, among many other things:

路 wakes up with him at 8 in the morning when he first gets up rather than closing all of the doors and curtains and fibbing to him about it still being a little bit dark outside and trying to beg him to go back to sleep for just a little longer.

路 gives him fresh fruits and veggies with his home-cooked meals rather than a bowl of dry cereal, a plate of microwaved chicken nuggets, or a cheap turkey and cheese sandwich with the occasional side of canned green beans or mandarin oranges if I happen to remember them.

路 builds Legos with him rather than telling him to go play by himself or turning on a cartoon to get him to leave me alone and sitting on the couch checking facebook or the bloggy world in peace.

路 has the energy to go outside and swing and slide with him or take him to the park to meet new friends rather than keeping him inside by himself on far too many nice days.

路 puts him in nice clean clothes every morning rather than keeping him in his pajamas until he has an accident and needs to change his pants or until we have to leave the house to run some errands.

路 does arts and crafts with him more than once every few weeks rather than getting flustered by his lack of help or making whatever we’re working on less than perfect and feeling as though the time had been a stressful waste.

路 takes him to the children’s library to borrow books and play with other kiddos rather than shoeing him over to his own bookshelf of 20-ish books that he’s already read dozens of times before.

路 keeps his home vacuumed and sanitized regularly rather than mostly relying on the dog to clean up the floor and waiting until I want to get around to wiping down the counters and dining room table.

路 cuddles him more often when he’s sick and whiney rather than trying to get him to still play on his own, go to bed just like normal, do everything just like we always do, and not really focusing on how miserable he probably is.

I know that these are areas that I need to work on or that I do sometimes and slip others.聽 I know that no matter how many times I actively try to incorporate some of these into my day-to-day, some of them will just never come naturally.聽 I know that many of these things would help structure his little life better and help him learn and grow more.

I also know that no one is perfect.聽 And I know that I do a helluva good job with what I do get right, no matter how rare that may be.聽 I’m not here trying to get your sympathy.聽 I’m not looking for comments like “you’re a good mom,” or “stop picking on yourself so much.”聽 That’s not what I’m trying to say here.

I feel like parents are regularly made to feel bad about their shortcomings.聽 Someone is always a better mommy or daddy than they are.聽 Other mommies weren’t upset when they found out they were pregnant, they cook healthy organic family meals every night, or they make all sorts of games and learning activites for their kids; other daddies come home every night for dinner, they do family game night or movie night with pizza, or they take care of baths and nighttime routines; other families can afford yearly vacations, they have family around to watch the kids while the mom and dad enjoy a night out every other Thursday, or they own a beautiful home with a fenced yard, a pool, a garden, and a dog that doesn’t jump on visitors.聽 Other parents – other families – are just better at this or that.

We’re so compelled to compare ourselves to these other people.聽 Sometimes they’re real people we know and love, sometimes they’re strangers who we’ve met through the internet, and sometimes they’re just an idea we have, this mythical person who does everything “right” and we pick ourselves apart for everything we’re doing “wrong”.

I’ll say it right here and very proudly, there are a lot of things I do wrong.聽 But that’s ok.聽 I do everything I possibly can for my Doodle (and my husband, for that matter), but I can only work to the best of my ability, I can only do what is in my capacity.聽 I don’t want to sit around thinking someone does it better than me, because they’re not doing my “it” and they’re not working off of my abilities and circumstances.

So I’m not the mother he deserves.聽 But you know what?聽 I’m the only one I want him to have.聽 I’m the only mom who’s going to love him the way I want him to be loved, the only mom who knows just where to tickle him to get him to almost stop breathing with laughter, the only mom who knows just how to hold him when he’s not feeling well or he’s just bonked his head on the table or he just wants to cuddle.聽 I’m his mom, and that makes me the best mom in the world from where I’m sitting.

I want every parent who loves their kids as strongly as they think they do to feel the same way.聽 I want them all to understand their faults, but to not be discouraged by what they think other parents are or what they think they should be.

You’re the only mom or dad who loves your kids with the same passion as you, the only one who loves your kids the way you want them to be loved.聽 No matter how much someone else does whatever they do right, they’ll never do what you do better than you.聽 And for that, you are everything your kids deserve.聽 And I am everything my Doodle deserves.