Tuesday, March 29, 2011


So I'm leaving on a jet plane, as they say. And I don't get too sad about it anymore. Or at least I don't dread traveling like I used to. But, see, there's this thing...called a 2-year-old who now knows what airplanes are. So when I told him that I was going on an airplane the next morning he got excited.

Me: "you have to be good the next few days while mommy is gone."
Colt: "go? Where Mommy go?"
Me: "I get to go on an airplane for work."
Colt lights up: "airplane! Mommy airplane? Go on airplane with Mommy?"
Me: "I wish you could go with me! It would be fun to fly on an airplane. Do you remember when we went on an airplane, just the two of us?"
Colt: "uh-HUH! Let's go mommy. To the airplane."

He takes my hand and starts to walk to the door. How I wish I could bring him with me!

Then as I dropped them off at school I was squeezing Owen and he was giving me his famous slobbery, open mouth kisses I started tearing up. Only a few days away, but I'm telling you those cheeks are addictive. Irresistible.

I imagine it's only going to get harder.

Colt is talking like crazy. "what dad mommy?" is heard most often. School bus, choo-choo, chuch, school, ice cream, pizza are all things we see on our morning drive. He is getting better at understanding and verbalizing right and wrong choices. And his memory is phenomenal.

Owen is taking lots of independent steps. It's awesome to see him get so excited when he does it. Before we know it, walking will be like breathing and that excitement will fade. But for now we're practicing and celebrating every step and he's soaking up the attention.

Life is good!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thankless Chores No One Notices

In preparation for two weekends of out-of-town relatives visiting, I decided to spend some time last weekend house cleaning. I tend to do a good job of surface cleaning and keeping things picked up, but wanted to do the tough stuff (especially in the boys' rooms and bathroom) while I had time.

What ended up happening is the story of my life. It turned into a spring cleaning kind of session. Which is not all that bad, and I'll admit is a bit of a high for me. I like cleaning, I love all day cleaning sessions. I'm just not loving cleaning every single night after kids are in bed and all I really want to do is fall into bed for a "Teen Mom 2" marathon.

Anyway, John took the boys out of the house for a few hours while I dug out the bleach and a new Swiffer Wet Jet. I was proud of my progress, until John came home and incredulously asked me "what did you even do while I was gone?".

Enter crazy woman.

In one breath of rage, I spit out every single thing I did in those hours he was entertaining toddlers away from home. But he couldn't notice. Because there was still a lot to do (especially in our room) and I'd ended up doing SPRING cleaning instead of regular cleaning. My rage went something like this:

"What did I do? WHAT DID I DO? Well, for your information I sortedtheboysclothessweptandmoppedalltilefloorscleanedthemicrowavecleanedoutthefridgedustedthetopofthefridgepolishedallthewoodfurniturecleanedtheboysbathroomCLEANEDTHECANOPENERBLADEscrubbedtheupholsterydid4loadsoflaundryincludingtheboyslinensandwipeddowntheappliances!"

Don't worry, I'll break it down for you as I had to with John. It got me thinking about all those thankless chores we do that our families won't ever notice but that have to be done. I even asked my Twitter friends to chime in...here are just a few of those things:
  • Cleaning the microwave
  • Stain prepping kid's laundry
  • Sorting kid's clothes by size and season
  • Storing kid's clothes by size and season
  • Cleaning the ceiling fans
  • Cleaning the top of the fridge/cabinets
  • Cleaning the thingie that catches water from the dispense on the fridge
  • Washing windows
  • Dusting things on top shelves and mantle
  • Dusting blinds
  • Cleaning out the fridge
  • Vacuuming couch cushions
  • Pantry organization
  • Sanitizing doorknobs
  • And my personal favorite: cleaning the blade of the electric can opener (go check it right now, you'll see what I mean)
As a woman, these things HAUNT MY DREAMS. Which will be a whole separate post on what goes on inside a woman's brain and how exhausting, really, it is to live in my head. I'll be sure to tag my husband on that one.

Any way, do you agree/disagree? What thankless, unnoticeable chores am I missing?

Monday, March 07, 2011

Sing a Song

When I was little, my dad used to sing to me a lot. He wrote songs, but also just had music playing all the time. He was also great at putting together mix tapes, and his hesitation to jump into iPod and iTunes has been curious. Anyway, the point is that music was in our house and in our car a lot. The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, The Carpenters, The Monkees, and plenty of other 70s classics were the soundtrack of my childhood.

One song he sang was a Carpenter's classic, "Sing a Song". I don't know if he actually sang this a lot or not, but to me when I think of that song it's his voice I hear. This weekend on Netflix, we turned on a Sesame Street special and Colt was instantly mesmerized. It was a 20 Year special and it went through all the things that had happened on Sesame Street in 20 years (I believe this was a 1989 special) and I was hooked, as well. And of course teared up along the way.

At the end of this special, they sang that song, the voices of children singing it. It brought back a lot of memories, but hit me especially hard as I really, for the first time, listened to those lyrics as a parent.

Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things, not bad
Sing of happy, not sad.

Sing, sing a song
Make it simple
To last your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not good enough
For anyone else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.

Colt loves music. Of course, I'm just eternally proud of him anyway but his interest in music has always fascinated me. He has been able to recall songs and words and dances since he was just a few months old. He had favorites before he could crawl. He could do hand motions before he could speak. He loves any show with music, and he's quite demanding in what is played in the car.

Recently he's started actually singing, not just listening. And if that tiny 2-year-old voice in perfect pitch doesn't pierce your heart then I don't know what will. It is heartbreakingly sweet. And I love that he will sing anywhere, anytime. I love that he expects his mom, his Grandma, his Mimi to sing anytime he asks. In the middle of the restaurant? Bring on some "Roll the Gospel Chariot". At the park, better sing "Jesus Loves Me" for all the world to hear. He loves music, and loves to sing. Always.

So the words of this song are like my mantra for him. I want him to ALWAYS sing. Sing loud, sing strong. Don't worry that it's not good enough. Sing happy songs. JUST SING. I always want that for him.

But I know there will come a time, far too soon actually, where he won't sing anyplace and anytime. I know there will come a time when he will be embarrassed, when someone will make fun of him, where someone will stop him from doing so. And I won't be able to help. It is part of life, experiencing that hurt. And for some reason, listening to that song this weekend made me ache inside.

As a parent, I've lived very much in the present. I don't read a lot of parenting books. I just live in the moment and do what feels right. And I've surprised myself with some of the ways that I naturally parent. But living in the present means I've spent little time thinking about how to handle things in the future. How to answer questions, how to handle discipline, how to handle hurts. Oh, I think about it but I don't really prepare.

The idea that one day I won't be able to protect Colt's heart, to protect his and Owen's feelings...that one day I won't be able to be in the moment for them...it's just overwhelming. It's painful and sad and makes my heart pound.

I love being their mom. I love being their protector. I love being their encourager. So since I won't be able to always fix things for them, in the meantime I will just encourage them to sing without worrying. What's the old saying, "dance like nobody's watching".

Colton and Owen - just sing. Sing anything, anywhere, anytime and don't let anyone stop you. Sing and be happy. Don't live life like it's an American Idol audition - I hope you just simply sing a song. I will always sing with you.

Darn you, Sesame Street. *sob*