Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas flops, Camels and our $20 Kmart special

 Growing up, each Christmas our family got a live tree. My grandparents own a Christmas tree farm in Virginia. Each year, we would go work on the farm to get the trees ready to sell. Being the youngest, I couldn't do much, but I was given smaller tasks. I would pull the little red wagon from the house full of goodies to everyone working, or follow behind whoever was plugging grass and place a single square of toilet paper over the hole to indicate where a new tree was going to go. 

My grandparents had beautiful trees, but we always got first pick. Even years later when my grandparents got too old to care for the trees, and sold the rights, they still set aside some trees for our family. My favorite was the white pine, even though they shed and dropped needles everywhere. My mom liked the Douglas Firs, but I thought they were prickly and hurt. Every year we'd get our tree, and hang it up. One year, the cat attacked our tree three times.

In 2002, back when I was still with the ex, I had just moved into a dumpy little duplex in Charleston, SC. We didn't have a dime to our name or furniture for that matter. One of the fellow seaman and his wife gave us an old plaid orange couch and chair that had once been in a fraternity house. (True Story) The couch had no springs left in it, and was hideous to say the least. However, I was just grateful for something to sit on. 
It resembled something like this. I'm just too lazy at the moment to bring out the old pics. Anywho, that year, my mom found 5ft tall Christmas trees on sale at Kmart on black Friday, 2002 for $20. She bought my sisters and I a tree. I remember what a sweet little tree it was that first year. Two states away, pregnant and on bedrest, I'd have that tree on 24/7. It felt like it was a little piece of home in my new home. 

10 years, 4 kids, and another husband later, the tree still stands. Mr. Man and I have discussed getting a new tree. In fact, last year, he changed out a good 100+ light bulbs on our $20 Kmart tree. This year, as I got it out, I complained more bulbs were out, but I was wrong. There's just that few lights on it. 



 This year may be our final year for our little tree. The branches are droopy and spread out. There's huge gaps in between the different pieces. Mr. Man said he doesn't see any of that, and he feels like for $20 it's a steal. After Christmas, our sweet tree will be disappearing to the Good Will, and I will feign ignorance next year when we can't find our Christmas tree.

Tonight, we took the boys to see a living nativity at First Baptist Church in a town nearby.  I was so excited. This whole month of December, the boys and I have been through the Christmas story piece by piece. We've talked about the Old Testament prophecies leading up Jesus' birth, why Mary and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem, and about how it would be to have a little baby in a stable. I was so excited for them to have a visual at tonight's living nativity. Well, as you know, nothing with kids goes as planned. They thought it was neat that they were asked to sign in and pay a "tax." They thought the towns people with all of their stores were really cool. They wanted to pet the donkeys and the camels. Liam even said the angel was pretty and he wanted to pet her. As we stood by the manager scene listening to the pre-recorded account of Jesus' birth, Kieran declared, "Ewwww! The camel is pooping." Which Cam followed up with, "I just want to see it spit. Camels spit you know." We finished the night by listening to the choir sing Christmas carols. I was standing in the cold thinking how neat it was to be able to worship and was really feeling overwhelmed with the love of the Lord, when a train went by. The boys were completely enthralled and yelling, "Choo choo!" They continued to give a commentary on the train for the next 3 minutes. (It was a really long train) Liam resumed conducting the choir, and the older boys asked Mr. Man if mom was "done yet" because they were cold and hungry. 

And for my final Christmas flops....  Tonight, I delivered my batch of Christmas cookies to my girlfriend. I handed her my red paper plate with crinkled foil as she gave me a beautiful Christmas box of butterscotch bars and snicker brownies. She took off the foil and asked if the cookies had mint in them. I was so proud. "Why, yes, there are mint chocolate chip ones." Apparently, putting those cookies in with the others, turned ALL of my cookies into mint cookies. Mint sugar cookies. And mint peanut butter and chocolate cookies. Thankfully, she's my close girlfriend, and we could laugh about it together. By laugh, I mean, shake my head, and want to scream, "I QUIT! I QUIT!!!!!!!!!" lol* 

May you all have a very blessed and Merry Christmas. May you keep you sense of humor amidst the flops of the holiday season, and may you never ruin 10 dozen cookies by contaminating them with mint chocolate chip ones. 
<3 Suzzy  

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Picture disaster, raw cookie dough and diabetic cookies: Failures in Life.

Today has been a disaster, no a failure. I'll back up, and begin with last night. My good friend was scheduled to come over and take family photos for our Christmas cards. I scoured the web to find poses. I had in mind the adorable, priceless pics we would take. A picture with the boys spelling out the word "J-O-Y", one with the boys huddled around Dylan as he read the Bible, and an endearing shot with Mr. Man and I looking lovingly into each others' eyes. 

I picked the boys up from school, and went straight to get hair cuts. I knew this would leave little time to get home, and put on the coordinating outfits, but I wanted them to look nice and kempt. I don't know if somewhere along the line I offended the older barber, but he refuses to cut my boys' hair. I will walk in, with no other customers, and he'll sit in the chair and assure me his grandson will be back soon. He'll then read the paper. When the next customer walks through the door (young or old) he'll put his paper away, and promptly begin cutting their hair. In a way, this makes me feel funny, but if you saw the hair cuts he gives, you'd probably be telling me to be grateful. 
Old man barber seems to have one style, and one style only. It involves cutting the back and sides of the hair very short, and leaving some on the top. Always with zigzag bangs. I can always tell when he's cut Mr. Man's hair. (Yes, the grudge is only with me.) After haircuts, we raced home, and I found Mr. Man grumpy as can be. I was yelling at the kids to get ready, rearranging the house, and trying to curl my hair which refused to hold any style except frizzy and limp. By the time my girlfriend arrived, tension in our house was running high. The boys were running around like animals, and Mr. Man had decided he was going to start dinner. (yes, just as the photographer arrived.) Nothing went right. Screaming at the kids to behave. Screaming at the kids to smile. Threatening. Yelling. Begging them to give me one good shot. All the while, Mr. Man did that embarrassing man thing, where despite company, and me trying to leave the "we're an amazingly happy, loving never fighting couple" impression, he moped, and yelled the entire shoot. I felt embarrassed, and wondered why I even bothered. My friend in PA also has four boys, yet she ALWAYS manages to get her tree just so, and the perfect family photo (including the dog) with her beautiful tree, and clean house in the background. 

Today wasn't much better. For weeks, I've had wreath stuff piled in my family and living room. I couldn't wait to load them up to the craft fair, and have my house back. I woke up, and got dressed, while Mr. Man loaded the beast. Again, it must be a man thing, but when I am in a rush, Mr. Man is on Texas time. He does this thing where he refuses to be rushed, and if he knows you are in a hurry, he seems to sloooooooooow down. I arrived 30 min before the craft show and began setting up, while Mr. Man sauntered in and began setting up my displays. Tick tick tick. The boys meanwhile, are running around like animals in the gym, and I begin to sweat. 

  Luckily, two my girlfriends (have I mentioned what AMAZING friends I have?) came to see me. They each bought a wreath, and then this sweet woman bought another. Three wreaths in the first 45 minutes! Praise the Lord. I sat and waited for me people. And waited. And waited. Luckily, Mr. Man came back to bring me tape for my sign, and left my eldest to keep me company. 
 With my 250 business cards, and my ultra swank sign, I felt very professional. Minutes turned into hours. This place was dead. I felt heartbroken. By 4 o'clock, I called Mr. Man, and told him to come get me. Apparently, I had woken him up from a nap, and he arrived an hour later. The boys marched in like soldiers, and took my displays down. They carried each piece of heavy wood to the beast. I must admit, by this time, I had pulled the van up behind the beast, and just sat *pouted* and watched as they loaded each wreath back into the car. 

By the time we got home, it was nearly 6pm. I lingered in the bathroom, having a pity party for myself, and taking off my earrings, and exchanging my black pants for a pair of oversized sweat pants. My boys continued working. They carried all of my wreaths up to the bonus room, and carried on about what "pretty" wreaths they were, and how people had been "crazy not to buy them." I must admit, this comforted me a bit. As a mom of four boys, there are some perks, this is one of them. I get huge compliments on all "girl" things I do. To people who can't match clothes, (or socks for that matter), they are in constant awe of my creations, (even the hideous wreaths I make which I dub the "ugly babies" AND which always end up selling quickly.) 

After dinner, Mr. Man was in the kitchen baking some sugar free cookies. As part of my pledge to make Jesus the center of our Christmas (and yes, I realize the irony, and hypocrisy of my horrible attitude blog, but bear with me, I'm human) I organized a group of my mom friends and their kids to go to a nursing home. I figured a little singing, hand out some cookies and candy canes, and let the sweet old people visit with the kids. Apparently, I forgot about the diabetic geriatrics, and was warned some of the residents had swallowing issues, and would not be permitted to have any of our sweets. Mr. Man volunteered to make the diabetic batch of cookies. He offered me a taste, and I graciously gave Dylan the rest of it. We exchanged glances while trying to swallow down the tasteless biscuit cookie, when Mr. Man called from the kitchen to ask which kind of [sugar free] icing he should make to accompany the cookies. Dylan leaned over and whispered, "The kind that covers up the flavor of the cookie." We commenced to laugh ourselves silly. Luckily, Mama found a stash of leftover chocolate chip cookie dough, and we were saved from the delicious sugar free dessert. I hear as you get older, your taste buds get duller, in the case of Mr. Man's cookies, this will definitely work towards the diabetic residents advantage.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Santa, Christmas cookies, Elf on the Shelf: but what do my boys know about Jesus?

Oh, Christmas time. The time of year where I threaten my children about lumps of coal in their stocking if they don't stop fighting. The time of year where hours are spent googling the best deals on toys, figuring out what to get that hard-to-buy for person, *Mr. Man* and where the seemly joyous holiday becomes a stressful, popping tums like they're candy time of year. 
I remember seeing these a few years back. This year, it seems like everyone has an Elf on the Shelf, and a few *genius* teachers have even placed them in their classrooms. I have a bone to pick with the Elf on the Shelf toy makers. Last year, my two eldest sons discovered the Santa sham. It first started when they noticed the "Made in China" tag on their classroom Elf on the Shelf. They discussed several theories in the car on the ride home from school, and then cornered me in the kitchen. "Mom, why does the elf have a made in China sticker?" The gig was up. They asked me if Santa was real. I told them, "No, he's just pretend." "So, you and Dad are really the ones that give us presents?" they asked. "Yes," I said. The six year old questioned the validity of the elf as well, but concluded while the elves are fake, Santa is still real. (There's six year old logic for you.)
Recently, I was really convicted about what my boys knew, and what I was teaching them about Christmas. Santas and toys and elves plagued our Christmas vocabulary, but what did they really know about Christ? I decided we would take a break from our weekly Bible verse memorization, and just discuss the true story of Christmas. We started with Luke 2 verse 1. At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 
I told the boys Ceaser Augustus was like the President, and he wanted a record of all of the people so he could tax them. I asked the boys, "Why do you think Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem?" Dylan answered, "To avoid paying taxes?" No. 

We also discussed why Jesus is called, "The Lamb of God." I told the boys to imagine having a sweet snuggly lamb, and then having to kill it. (Kieran was close to tears.) I told them about people having to make sacrifices to talk to God, but when Jesus shed His blood on the cross, He was the ULTIMATE sacrifice. No more lambs had to be killed.  I asked them if they would sacrifice on of their brothers for a murder? They all said, "No." We talked about how God loved us so much that He sent his precious Son for bad people. I could see them absorbing this information. Tomorrow, we'll talk more in depth about Jesus' birth and resurrection fulfilling the Old Testament prophesies. A good source for Old Testament Prophecies about Jesus.Today, we only got as far as to what "prophecy" actually means. (And no Cameron, it's not the Gypsy lady with a wart on her face staring into the ball)

I really began to realize in the midst of this, what I'd been filling my kids heads with concerning Christmas. While I was reminding them to remember the "real reason for the season" I was taking up their toy lists, threatening them with lumps of coal, and furiously decorating the house. It occurred to me that my actions were taking away the true meaning of Christmas to my children. My boys are being bombarded with Christmas things all while missing the truth of the celebration. This year, I don't want Jesus to be something we slip in on Christmas evening. I don't want to rush through the Christmas story so we can get to the "good stuff." This IS the good stuff. I want to study this. I want them to know why Jesus came, why God sacrificed His son, why Jesus was born in a stable. I want my boys to treasure these things in their hearts far above story of Santa.


 This Christmas, we'll still do matching Christmas pjs. We'll still make horribly mishapen, over sprinkled Christmas cookies. We'll still during our evening hunt for Christmas lights where one child inevitably gets carsick and ends up throwing up in an old McDonald's cup we hastily find underneath the seat. And yes, we'll still leave out cookies for Santa, and Mr. Man will nibble off little bites to make it appear as though the fat man was there, but, these are just additions. This year, these things, will be additions to our bigger picture. This year, we'll focus on Christ, His story, His message, His sacrifice, and this year, Christ will shine brighter than all of these other things.

 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Mistakes, craft fairs, and what not to say

Remember my first wreath I made?.....Somewhere between my 15th and 20th wreath, something clicked, and really got the hang of it. Maybe I'm a slow learner, or not as naturally crafty inclined as others, but around 20 wreaths and *wait for it* around $500 later, I finally found my groove in this whole wreath thing. I know, some of you still haven't picked your jaw up from the floor, but I told you I was stubborn! Anywho, just look, and tell me these don't look better than my first batch:
 How amazing is Mr. Man? I found out the day before the craft fair that there was a cancellation and that I had a spot! For under $30, Mr. Man fashioned this little display for me.
 These are just a few of my wreaths I took to my craft fair this weekend! In my life, the Lord keeps me humbled. I made all of these wreaths with nowhere to sell. I just think it's a blessing that with a days' notice, I was able to get these wreaths together and able to sell 9. Even though I'm still in the hole, I'm honoring my promise to the Lord, and setting aside $130.00 for my beloved Zimbabwe Missionary friends. Because, this money, isn't mine really, and I think it's easy to bargain with the Lord when we need Him, and forget our promises when we feel that we don't. I trust the Lord will work everything out, and am so excited that I can add to my "Zim Fund." (Mr. Man is happy that I'm all most out of the hole.)

Moving on, my Mom begged me not to post this last bit. Did I mention she's in town? Mom arrived last Sunday, and it's been so nice having her here. She's still perpetually nags me, rearranges my house, and tells me how ugly my couch is, but I love her. I told mom I always thought we were normal, but everywhere we go, people hear us going back and forth and laugh, so maybe we're not as normal as we think? Anywho, Mom's been a big help. We call her jokingly "Nanny Granny" when she watches the kids. Wednesday was Halloween, and before I took the boys out, I had to take *FAIL* another Chem exam. (great timing, right?) I locked myself in my room, and when I came out, this is what I found:
 Mom..is crazy. She smeared lipstick all over her lips, crazied her hair up, and put some of my bugs and cobwebs on her head. She answered the door looking like this all night. Actually, the glasses are kind of funny. 

Mom has gotten some of the worst hair cuts of anyone I have ever known. I don't know if it's her hair texture or just plain bad luck, but this latest one reminds me of that actress Linda Hunt OR Edna from the Incredibles.
Actually, I think Edna's looks better. I heard Mom talking to Liam about her hair. He was asking her why it looked so bad, and Mom was telling him that she felt sorry for a blind person, and gave them money to cut her hair. (It was really an Asian woman at Hair Cuttery who spoke minimal English. Mom said she asked for something that wouldn't accentuate her ears, and got the opposite. We think the message was lost in translation...)


Anywho, back to my tip of: "Things You Should Not Say to People at a Craft Fair": 
  1. "Is it hard? How'd you do that?" Well, if I told you that, I probably would save you a lot of trouble, time, and money, and you wouldn't have to buy mine.
  2. "Where'd you get all of your stuff from? Can I look and see how you constructed that?" Again, these are my babies, and I've spent hours upon hours researching, shopping, pricing out different stores, materials, qualities, and methods that make the best wreaths. It's like asking the Colonel for the secret ingredient. (Okay, that's a huge stretch, and I'm certainly not saying my wreaths are that good, but I thought it was a good comparison!)
  3. "How much do these cost to make?" It depends on a LOT of factors! It's not a huge secret, but it's my little side business, so labor time is accounted for, but not by much. I have scanned Etsy, and lemme tell ya, the people that are getting $100-$200 for these babies are making it big! I promise you, I'm not. =)
Now, don't get me wrong! I love Southerns, and they just have a way of saying things that come to mind, but I'm not that money hungry type of girl. In fact, after my mom and I went through my product, costs, and time, my mom urged me to go higher on my prices. I like to go by the age old sayin' "Pigs get fatter, Hogs get Slaughtered." I know there's variations on that phrase, but that's what my family says. Basically, don't get greedy. If you set things at a reasonable prices, and deal fairly with others, you'll come of better than setting the prices too high. Anywho, complaints, and a little bit of hurt feelings aside, the Lord really blessed this weekend. I had so much fun, and can't wait to get into another craft fair. Oh, and just so I can totally make my plug, My ~*Neighborhood Envy*~ Store =)
 (Yes, I know, it's shameless!)

Friday, October 26, 2012

WIgs, and stomach churning Halloween Treats!

Here in the South, Bunco groups are huge! When I first moved here, I tried to join one, however, I couldn't even manage sub status, so my girlfriends and I decided to make our own group. We're not exclusive, but our group's just grown so large, that we had to stop inviting people. This part always hurts our hearts, because we don't want to make anyone feel left out. I had to put that disclaimer in, because I am really excited to share these pics!
 This is POKENO, it's a lot like BINGO, except using a deck of cards. (And by a LOT, I mean exactly like) Every month, we pick a theme for food and our gift. The gifts are between  $5-$10 and each member takes a turn hosting. Every Christmas, we have our annual Ugly Sweater Christmas Party.. Here are some shots from a few of our Christmas extravaganzas:
 As you can see, we're pretty stylish gals. True story: Last year, one of the girls ran into a couple of older members of her church, and she told them we were having a holiday sweater party. The person with the winning ensemble wins a free dinner. Yes, we actually wear these outfits out in public. The waiter votes on the ugliest one. 

Last year, we started a themed Halloween POKENO night. We had to wear a wig, and bring a gross food. Lemme tell you, one woman brought "Kitty Litter" in an actual kitty litter box, with a poop sifter to serve he desert. She won hands down. Even though I KNEW the box and utensil were brand new, I just couldn't stomach eating it!
  How nasty is this?

Last night, we had our annual gross food, and wig night. The moms pulled out all of the stops on this one!
 Eyeballs, ghost strawberries, a baby face cheese ball, and.. well, let's just say the ones on the top left as supposed to be something only used by women, AND this is a GIRLS only club!
One of our moms just made a regular cherry pie. An certain mom exclaimed, "Ewww! Gross! What is that?" Um, cherry pie?
Bandaids!
Green spinach dip!
Dried Bat Wings
Fondue fountain.. we tried to make it look bloody, but it just ended up looking like a Valentine's Day fountain!
Blood punch with bugs!
 It was such a fun night! Can't wait to see what girls bring next year! <3 Suzzy

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My bad week and big idea: Yet to be named

The week before last, was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week. Remember this book we read as kids? After studying for a week and half, I bombed my chem exam. By bomb, I mean 56%. I down right failed that baby. Mr. Man had to pick up another guy's shift at work, and I was left studying for hours on end while the boys tore up the house. The drive home from my exam was surreal. I cried and cried. The ugly kind of cry where you don't care who sees you and you feel like I failure. I went through all of the dramatics. "I quit. I mean it. I'm done." After my tears, my friends, family, and Mr. Man talked me back to reason, and I hired a tutor. $30 an hr. Are we rich? Absolutely not. But Mr. Man works his tail off to provide. My tutor, turned out to be a God send. Literally, I feel it was divine intervention. She lives in my town, and is a fellow believer. She's amazing, and so sweet. (Side note: Chemistry aside, she also babysits, and we've been looking for a sub, double plus!)
I'm not much of a crier. Don't get me wrong. If I watch a sappy commercial, or see one of those "Like if you believe he's a hero" pics on Facebook with the paraplegic solider, I will be bawling like a baby, but when it comes to people and relationships, I just don't cry. My mom would say it's because I "cried everyday" until I was 12, but I think that's a slight exaggeration. The past two weeks, I have been crying at the drop of a pin. My BIG meltdown was on my birthday. Now, before I tell this story, I must say, I had been struggling with Chem, been juggling the boys by myself while Mr. Man worked 13 days straight (12 hr shifts) and trying to keep my head above water. On my birthday, Mr. Man arrives home with a cake for me. All I wanted for my birthday was a yellow, butter cream icing cake. My house is divided on the icing issue. Half of the boys love the butter cream icing, while the other half sides with Kevin favoring the whipped icing. Well, Mr. Man, bless his heart, had just finished a 12 hour shift and ran by Walmart and grabbed my cake. He swears up and down he asked the toothless lady behind the counter three times if it was butter cream and she assured him it was. However, one glance at this cake, and my 4 year old could tell it was whipped icing. Commence 1 hour cry festival. My mom and I often say we say things to our husbands that we'd never forgive them saying to us. I cried and cried. I went from cake, to how he never listens, and how he purposefully got the wrong kind, and by the end of my emotional rant, I was convinced my husband didn't love or care about me.... because he bought me the wrong kind of icing. A few hours later, a few phone calls with my girlfriends later, I apologized to Mr. Man after his nap. I say all of this to explain my state of mind lately.
This wreath started it all. This woman in my neighborhood always decorates her house so nice. I bought some items at a craft store and made this wreath. I really enjoyed it, and thought, "Why not make these for a little extra money?" 
Reasons why Suzzy needs some extra cash:
#1. To send support $ to my Zimbabwe missionary friends
#2. To pay for my sweet Chemistry tutor that charges $30 an hr
#3. To help out Mr. Man who works so hard for our family
When I first toyed with this idea, Mr. Man wasn't too keen on my grand plan, however, when I have my mind set, there's usually little one can do to deter me. Maybe it's my way of making up for my youth. Growing up, I was so insecure, I would never try anything out of my comfort zone. I was scared that I would look like a fool trying anything new, and so I would just say, "I don't like it" and stand on the side. The adult me is starkly different. I will try anything, and if I look dumb, well, I firmly believe that after experiencing the labor and delivery room saga, there's nothing that can embarrass a mom. I digress. After researching *obsessing* my idea, googling, pricing, and looking at endless pictures, I decided that I was going to start making wreaths for money. Today, I went to hobby lobby, 4 kids in tow, and spent at least 2 hrs picking out everything I would need to start up my side business. I must say, my boys are pretty extraordinary. I asked them what they liked and didn't like and gave them tasks to find me certain items. When I came home, this is what I had: 
 
 I also bought about 20 wire frames to make wreaths, and I spent a scary amount to buy this stuff. When I say scary, I'm talking atleast 2 weeks worth of groceries for us. As I was unloading the last bag, I heard Mr. Man stirring. (He works nights) I organized my items, and waited until he was done with his shower to go talk to him. 
"Well, what's the damage he asked." I tried to gauge his mood. 
"Um.. a scary amount. Way more than I anticipated." 
"Uh hu.. well, what's the return? How much profit do you think you can get?"  =) This is my husband. Mom calls him Hinestein, because he's very frugal and very wise with money. He followed me out to our dining room where I had my loot spread out on the table. He asked me about costs, time, supplies, etc, and said, "Well, I guess that's not too awful bad." Phew. 
 "You're not brave, unless you're scared." I don't know where this came from, I know it's from a movie, but this line has stuck with me. After I saw my receipt, I was scared. In fact, the boys and I loaded up the van, and we proud over the supplies, and my wreaths. Proverbs 16:3 says, "Commit your plans to the Lord, whatever you do, and you will succeed." I prayed this as the boys and I head to Chick-Fil-A for lunch. Will I become rich off of wreaths? No. Is that my goal? Not at all. But if anything, this journey has taught me that I am blessed beyond belief to have a husband that supports all of my crazy ideas, that trying and failing is better than not trying at all, and that if you've been praying for the Lord to send more support to certain missionaries and He's been silent, it MAY be because He's already sent YOU.

I've saved the best for last. Next month, my 2 Mamas are coming to town: my Mama and my Mama in Law. and guess what they're going to help me do? Oh, yes, put wreaths together. They've been carrying on back and for on my Facebook page about how much work I already have lined up for them, but in all seriousness, these women are live savers. On a completely random note, I am at a loss for a store name. If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears. I was thinking "All Glammed Up", but it's already taken, as is "Mom's fun money." To my Mama's reading this, be brave. Be willing to step out of that box. You will never do anything great if you listen to opposition. Be confident. Be adventurous, and remember, you're only brave if you're scared. <3 Suzzy
 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Light at the end of the tunnel: One day, you will be able to shower before 3pm

By the time I was 21, I had a minivan and a double stroller. 
By 22 years old, I had a 3.5 year old, all most 2 year old, and pregnant with my 3rd son. Around the time I delivered Kieran, Mr. Man got out of the NAVY. He moved to TN, and for six weeks, I was at our house in VA, packing, breastfeeding, and potty training. I remember one day, our realtor came by to show the house and hadn't called. I was nursing, Cam was stark naked sitting on his potty in the living room, and Dylan was running around in his underwear. I remember having a nervous breakdown that day.
4th of July 2006. This was my era of 3 car seats, a double stroller, and baby sling. Going to the grocery store was a nightmare. Truthfully, going anywhere by myself was a nightmare. By the time I would get everyone dressed, the baby would need to nurse and then, we would have to wait 15 more minutes for my potty trainer to make pee-pee before we left the house.. Nurse the baby, put everyone's shoes on, and rush out before I needed to feed the baby again. I remember "dressing up" was getting a shower, and out of my pjs. Wonder why some moms look "frumpy"? Because, during this time, we can barely shower, much less keep track of laundry, and do our hair. 
September, 2008, I had a 5.5 year old, 4 year old, 2 year old, and 4 month old. I call this period, perpetual stress. Dylan was always late to Kindergarten. The house was always a disaster. I felt stressed all of the time. Again, every wonder why moms of young kids seem to be stressed and habitually late? Imagine having to dress yourself, and 4 other people, changing multiple diapers, getting zero sleep, only to have to wake up early and start the day all over again. People would always say, "I don't know how you do it!" I'd smile and give some "children are such a blessing" speech, when really, I wondered how long before I'd be checking into the nut house. During this time, my oldest, very wise sister told me, "One day, it won't be like this! You'll be able to leave the house without a diaper bag and stroller. You won't have to buckle car seats! Hang in there." 

September 2012. Listen up Moms, one day, this is not a dream. Your time is coming.
One day, you will be able to:
  • Really talk with your kids, and get intelligible words back.
  • Go to the grocery store, and send your kids to get various items, while you walk slowly down the aisles.
  • Hop in the car, spur of the moment, and go somewhere..sans diaper bag, stroller, and  a change of clothes.
  • Go to restaurant, and eat.. in peace. No high chairs, screaming, cutting up food or getting hot water to heat up a bottle.
  • Lay out at the pool and beach! One day, you will be able to soak up the sun, without worrying about who's drowning, or eating sand. 
  • Go on road trips, and not having to stop to feed them. You can hand back happy meals, and keep driving.
  • Chores. Glorious chores! You will have HELP in the housework. And guess what? The older they get, the cleaner they get, because they realize how much work it takes to pick up their mess!
  • You can primp, put on make up, and dress up. You won't have to worry about a baby spitting up on you or how easily you can nurse in what shirt or running after a toddler in heels. Your kids will wake up, get themselves breakfast, and dress themselves!
  • You will sleep in! Saturday mornings, you will be able to sleep in, knowing your kids can fend for themselves, turn the tv on to their cartoon station, and keep it down.
  • You will be by yourself. One day, the kids will go to school, and the day will be yours! You will be able to sit and read. You can clean in peace, and remark how quiet the house is. 
  • You don't have to share. No longer will you have to share whatever sweet you eat after you put the kids to bed. If they catch you, you can tell them it's yours, without a melt down, tantrum. 
  • They will read themselves a good night story. You will send them to bed, and they will lie in bed reading, while you watch whatever show you desire.
  • They will be empathetic. When you have a hard day, you don't have to cry alone in the shower, your kids will ask you how they can help. 
  • You and your husband will have conversations that do not include the consistency of diaper contents, who smeared toothpaste all of the bathroom, and who's teething. You'll connect on an adult level.
 These things, I one day thought would never be possible, are happening. I remember dreading getting out of bed just thinking about my exhausting day ahead. I'm glad I had someone there to tell me it wouldn't always be like this, that this was just a stage of life, and to hang in there. So, to all of my mamas, who are sleep deprived, emotionally and physically drained, and feeling like there's no end in sight, hang in there! There's light at the end of the tunnel!