Posted by: Modern Mom | June 25, 2014

Baby Blues Part 1: Bringing Home Baby

This is part of a series that began here.

I was amazed at the way my body responded when I went into labor. My mental state completely shifted. Irrational was no longer present (but it would come back full force in the final phase of labor). I was suddenly a little more calm. I do remember being afraid to go to the hospital. “If I go to the hospital, this thing is going to have to come out somehow.” OK, so maybe irrational was still present, just not as prominent. None of the research I did was going to be of any help now.

Skipping the gory details, the labor went well and the baby eventually came out. Much to my relief and amazement.

I was a little surprised to see a boy. I had been convinced that I was having a girl. Well, up until that last month. Only a boy would sit on my pelvis for a month. I was really hoping for a girl. Longing for one, in fact. I pictured the relationship we would have. The cute dresses I would buy. Pink. Lots of pink. But that oxytocin kicked in and made me see what I needed to see, a beautiful baby. And all was well. I fell in love.

Unfortunately the oxytocin doesn’t last for long. The part I didn’t read in any books, or on the internet, was about to hit me. Hard. Postpartum depression. It’s a serious condition that is seldom properly diagnosed. I’m guessing it’s because we put so much expectation on women in our society. Supermom is supposed to bring home the bacon, fry it up, decorate her house Pinterest style and keep it spotless, keep her husband happy and interested, balance the budget, play taxi, shuffle schedules, run the PTA, and all while holding the baby, looking like Donna Reed, and keeping a smile on her face.

We’re all trying to be our version of Supermom. And I was no exception. I was trying to hold it together on the outside while feeling completely out of control on the inside. There was so much to learn. I didn’t have a clue what to do with a baby. I should have spent more time researching that instead of pregnancy and childbirth. Thank God for motherhood instincts. Otherwise, I’m not so sure that baby would have survived me.

When we brought our son home, our house was under construction – while we were living in it. We had cut the roof off and added a second story just one month before he was born. Brilliant. It was in the dry, but no drywall yet. I had no nursery, which I didn’t think would be a problem, until I needed to try to nurse a baby while drywallers were tromping through my house at all hours.

My mother, bless her, would do her best to protect my modesty as I sat in the only available clean space of the house, the living room, and tried to nurse this new baby while strange men came in and out all day. If it was now, after I’ve done it twice already, I’d just hang the girls out in front of God and everyone and get done what needed to get done. But it was new to me. New to baby. And I was having terrible anxiety about it.

Nursing was not easy. It wasn’t natural feeling to me. I didn’t feel like the instincts had taken over there. And my son wasn’t cooperating like I thought he would. I had pictured this amazing, beautiful nursing experience where mom and baby come together and naturally know what to do and how to do it. I didn’t think there would be any learning curve. Boy was I wrong.

Everything started going south. Neither of us was getting it and it was a real pain in the boob. Other mamas who’ve been there know, there is nothing so painful as trying to nurse a baby off of cracked, bleeding boobs from not having a good latch. It didn’t matter what I did. And he was constantly popping off, screaming, presumably at me for not getting it right. I couldn’t nurse him without crying. Both in pain and terrible frustration.

The anxiety was eating at me. WHY was I not getting this? What was I doing wrong? I must be a terrible mother. I can’t even feed my own child. And worse, I don’t like him much. How horrible am I? I can’t even seem to fall in love with this child because he’s causing me pain, and seems to hate me.

Then there was the dust from the drywall. That was what pushed my anxiety to a breaking point. I had to get out. I packed everything under the sun that I thought I might need, and went to my mom’s hotel room and checked in with her. I stayed for a week, until the drywall was done and cleaned up.

I had a follow up appointment at the hospital to check on us and finally found out what I was doing wrong (at least as far as nursing goes). I was able to eventually correct the situation and find some relief for my aching boobs. The first stumbling block was over. However, I didn’t tell them about what was going on with me emotionally. I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to look like I couldn’t do this. If I did admit my troubles, what would happen? Would they declare me unfit? Would my picture end up on the “Wall of Shame” of mothers who didn’t get it? I was raw. I wasn’t thinking straight. And it was just the beginning.


Posted by: Modern Mom | June 19, 2014

My Kids and Their Entourage

My oldest son has always attached very easily to stuffed things. I gave him one of those precious little baby blankets with the teddy bear head in the middle and the silky edges when he was an infant, in hopes that it would help him sleep away from me. I was all good intentions. I was a security blanket baby myself.

The teddy blanket became his “lovey”. Then, the blanket that I used to cover him at night also became one of his loveys. And later, a Tigger that his Nana gave him got added to the mix.

After his little brother was born, I took him on a special date for just the two of us and we went to Build a Bear. He built a bunny. THAT got added to the “buddies”. That’s what he called them. His buddies.

“OK, my son has four things he feels he needs to sleep with. That’s OK, right? Totally fine. A little bulky for going to Nana’s, but totally fine,” I would tell myself. We didn’t have a problem.

Then, my mother gave him a pillow pet for Christmas. She did ask me first, but I thought, “It’s a pillow. I’m sure he won’t need to take that everywhere he goes.” So I cleared the gift. Now we have a large edition to the buddies. That makes five. But he’s not done.

The following Christmas my brother-in-law got both the boys enormous stuffed animals. My oldest got a cheetah. It’s bigger than he is. It also has to sleep with him now. Sigh. That’s six.

At that point it became borderline ridiculous. There is hardly any room for him in his bed. And the bedtime routine takes ten minutes longer so that he can position each one just so before he settles down on the pile.

Another holiday came around. This time Grandma gave him a suitcase with another pillow pet in it. I can’t describe the utter dismay I have when I see another stuffed animal. “Not. Another. Stuffed. Animal.” I have gone so far as to hide stuffed animals. Give them away as quickly as possible before anyone gets attached. I wasn’t quick enough with this one. Number seven. Seriously, this is absurd.

I have pleaded with my family, “Whatever you do, do NOT give him stuffed animals!” But, on a recent trip to Nana’s he came home with another bunny. “I didn’t buy it for him!” she swears. It was one she had, that he asked if he could take home after sleeping with it all weekend. Of course she can’t deny him anything. Apparently I need to amend the plea to include “don’t GIVE him any stuffed thing. EVER.” Eight.

Eight buddies in all at this point for my oldest son. We call them his entourage. They are more than an armload for him, so we have had to come up with a rule – four buddy maximum on any car ride. Then we had to amend the rule to ban large buddies from the car altogether.

That’s hard for him. So before we leave he has to tuck the ones left behind into bed and swear that he’ll be home again. He worries. Poor kid is like me.

Then, there’s my youngest. I’m not sure if he’s just following his brother’s example, or if he really needs all these things. He has a baby blanket with the head in the middle (Tigger), two different Pooh Bears, a fleece blanket, and two different frogs. Six. Lordy. If my family and friends value their lives they’d better not bring anything soft and stuffed into my house.

I think we’ve reached the point of insanity. I will never purchase another stuffed thing again. EVER. I’m afraid my child might decide to be a taxidermist. Please… nobody send him anything stuffed.

Posted by: Modern Mom | June 18, 2014

The Reality of Pregnancy

It has been on my heart for a long time to share my story. My biggest stumbling block was, “where do I start?” I suppose I should start at the beginning. Makes sense, right? This comes as a result of a recent conversation with another mama friend who, like me, was trying to hold it together on the outside to her own detriment.  So, this is the first of what will hopefully be a good series of in-depth looks into the reality, the good, the bad and the ugly, of being a new mom.

Before I decided to have kids I researched it. No kidding. Mostly I researched pregnancy and childbirth. I was scared to death of both. Well… mostly of the baby having to come out at the end. It just didn’t make any physical sense to me how something so large could come out…. well, you get it. I was terrified. So before I got myself into the predicament of actually BEING pregnant and having to face that inevitable end, I wanted to know ALL the gory details.

There’s stuff they don’t tell you in books. Did you know that? Ugly, weird stuff. Fortunately (or maybe UNfortunately) all of that stuff is on the internet. Ahhh, the internet. If you want to get REALLY scared about having a baby, this is the sure fire way to do it.

Despite everything I read on the internet -and a small mental breakdown afterward- I eventually decided I could handle whatever pregnancy threw at me. I was prepared. Ha!

I heard from several of my friends that they didn’t really remember that stuff and after all was said and done, it wasn’t really a big deal. Some even touted how wonderful pregnancy was. You had more hair (something I could always get behind). Your skin might just clear up and look fabulous (also something I was excited about). Some even said they felt a bit euphoric when pregnant. Psh! Liars. All of them. I think they just plain forgot all the other crap. Either that or they’re vindictive witches that want you to be in their club.

Why is all that good stuff wasted on us when we’re pregnant? Why not have great hair and skin when we’re not pregnant? You know, for the other 99.9% of our lives. I’d rather look like I feel when I’m pregnant. Disgusting. Then maybe that annoying stranger who feels the need to come and fondle your baby bump completely uninvited would just back the hell off.

I know everyone is different, but pregnancy really sucked for me. I didn’t have an unusual or hard pregnancy, per se, but it was hard on me. Mentally and physically. I didn’t like not having my body to myself. I was completely and totally exhausted all the time. I couldn’t make it through the day. I felt like a narcoleptic. Or a bobble head doll. Constantly catching myself falling asleep.

I felt seasick for nine months. The first four were the worst, but it was like being on a boat and having motion sickness 24 hours a day for nine months. There were days I would pray to just throw up and be done with it for good. But that never happened. I think I ate my weight in natural ginger candies and ginger soda.

I have a powerful sense of smell on a regular day, but during pregnancy it became known as the Spidey Sense. Onions, peppers, garlic and poultry were not allowed in my house. I couldn’t handle it. If a loaf of bread was even considering molding I could smell it. Something about to expire in the fridge? I knew about it. If hubby had something offensive for lunch, I couldn’t be around him that evening because I could smell his breath. You get the idea.

I ached all the time. I couldn’t drink alcohol or eat the soft cheeses I love. I was cranky. Always. Talk about the ultimate mood swings. Manic Depressive style mood swings. I hated not really being in control of my own emotions.

I had to pee ALL the time. I spent so much time in the bathroom that I literally told the guys I worked with that if they needed anything to just slide it under the bathroom door. And I waddled. Long before it was really necessary for me to waddle, I waddled. What’s that about? How embarrassing. I didn’t even have the bump that would explain the waddle.

They don’t really tell you about nesting. The psychotic urge to scrub the outside layer off of everything you own. I scrubbed things I never paid any attention to before. I used a toothbrush. No kidding. I took my oven apart to clean the whole thing piece by piece. Seriously? What baby is going to be using the oven? He wouldn’t even eat anything out of it for months. It was irrational. Just like almost everything else I did.

The day of my baby shower, during my shower, that boy dropped. You can actually see the progression in my face in the shower photos. I went from, “Oh, what a nice shower!” to “Good GOD what the heck is pushing on my pelvis?!” I was convinced he was trying to escape early. He sat at zero station for a month. I walked like John Wayne that last month. Bow legged and a real cranky wince on my face.

And I never slept. I could never get comfortable. I bought every pregnancy pillow known to man. I took up the whole bed with them. I surrounded myself in a nest of pillows. People came up to me while I was pregnant and said asinine things like, “get some sleep now, while you can!” I would smile through gritted teeth trying not to succumb to the urge to punch them. “While I can” my giant white petoot. There was no sleeping.

There’s a reason for that last month of pregnancy. It’s the month that takes you from being hesitant or scared of birth to “get this thing out of me already” mode. That last month was excruciating. The pain from him pressing on my pelvis. The complete and utter exhaustion. The fear and anxiety. The inability to tolerate my husband. Or any other person, really. I hated people that month. All of them. Especially that unsuspecting stranger who feels the need to come tell me some gem about pregnancy, or babies, or touch me in any way. I might have gone on a killing spree had the child not come out. If pregnant women weren’t so stinking exhausted there might be more pregnancy related killing sprees. Like I said, there’s a good reason for that last month. I was now READY for whatever it would take to get him OUT.

I just wasn’t ready for what would come after he was out.

Posted by: Modern Mom | May 31, 2014

Speed Showering

My husband teases me about the ‘exciting’ things I do when he takes the boys away. One of the things I love to do is take a shower. I know. I’m living the life inspired. Try to hold back your jealousy. But the thought of having an uninterrupted shower, without rushing, and using up all the hot water just for me, is delightful. This is why.

A normal shower for me starts with me warning the boys that I am planning to take a shower and that there will be dire consequences for the boy who dares to interrupt me with trifle things. “I don’t want to be interrupted with owies, tattling, snack or food requests. Any news unrelated to bleeding or the house being on fire is of no concern to me.” They appear to be listening, but appearances can be deceiving. “Do you understand?” They nod blankly, but I get the feeling they are appeasing me.

Minute 1: I get in the shower. I have approximately 5 minutes to wash and condition my hair, wash my body, wash my face, and shave. I have this down to a science. I wet my hair and wash my face at the same time. My face is covered in purple goo when the littlest boy comes in. “I have to poop!” GREAT. He can’t wipe himself, so guess who gets the honor? Lovely.

Side note about my youngest; He’s the fastest pooper in the world. Seriously. Land speed records have been slower. I shove my face into the streaming water and wash as fast as possible. OW! OW! Sulpher in my eyes! Darn this expensive face wash crap!

I hear my summons 2 seconds after he enters the room, “I need help!” Awesome. So I step from my nice warm shower out into the cold bathroom, where he has left the door open of course, dripping a trail across the floor to the toilet. I help him and tell him to wash his hands and get out. “And for God’s sake, shut the door!”

Minute 2: Of all the times he chooses to finally listen to me and use warm water instead of cold, this is the one. As I am enjoying the warm water and soaping my hair a chilling burst of water hits me. “WESTON!” I shriek, “That’s enough. Get. Out.” He does. But of course he leaves the door hanging wide open. *sigh* I yell after him but he is already outside. And he has shut THAT door. Figures. So I get out of the shower again and close the door.

Minute 3: Did I wash my hair? Shoot. I can’t remember. Probably not. So I soap my hair for the second time. I wonder why I go through shampoo so fast? I am able to get conditioner in my hair before the oldest boy, the informant, comes in to tattle on his brother. He barges in at a breakneck pace and immediately slips on the wet floor.

Once again I am out of the shower, dripping wet and freezing, to help the injured boy. I kiss the boo-boo, calm him down, and send him on his way. I grab a towel and wipe up the wet floor to prevent further injury. I get back in the shower.

Minute 4: The Informant is back. He had forgotten to tattle on his brother. Something about hitting. Blah blah blah. GET. OUT. I will deal with that when I am DONE!

I am pretty sure I have washed my hair, so now I begin to shave. Swipe, swipe, swipe. I quickly shave my pits, disregarding any missed spots, or skin shaved off, and move on to my legs. It’s coming up on summer, after all, and one should really be able to wear shorts without being mistaken for Sasquatch. I know it’s pushing it to try and fit this in during my shower sprint, but sacrifices must be made. It’s for the public good.

Minute 5: What’s that? OH. NO. I hear crying. It’s coming my way. I quickly run the razor with blatant disregard for life and limb. The little one comes barging in, the door flies open and creates a strong – very cold – breeze. Goosebumps raise immediately and suddenly I am lopping off little round bumps and leaving a trail of red holes. At this point I have lost any patience I once had. “WHAT!?” I put extra emphasis on the T as a warning to the boy that he is treading on my last nerve.

“Moooom! The dog is chasing my lawnmower!” he cries. I am about to lose it. That darn dog is an added stressor that I just don’t need. And now he’s interfering with my shower as well? That dog is going to mysteriously vanish one day. Today, probably. “Tell your brother to put the dog away!” I say through gritted teeth. “Go away!” He turns to leave and I remind him, “SHUT. THE. DOOR.”

I stand in the warm water. Defeated. Trying to remember what leg I was on, when I hear the door open again. “GET. THE. HECK. OUT!” I yell. Mama has HAD IT. I swear whoever just opened that door is a dead man. I hear nothing. The door is still open. I peek out and the stupid cat is sitting outside the shower staring at me.

Well, I might as well get out now since I have to shut the door anyway. I probably left a line or two of hair on my legs. Perhaps I missed an entire leg. Whatever. It will go nicely with the line of red dots. Thank God that long skirts are in style. If you see me wearing one, you’ll know why.

So I turn off the water and step out of the shower. The cat starts purring. I scowl at him. I am sure he did this on purpose to pay me back for forgetting to feed him right away this morning. Cats are conniving like that. I begin to dry off. My hand touches my hair and I realize that I forgot to wash the conditioner out of it. *SIGH* I turn the water back on and step back in the shower to rinse my hair again.

In comes the oldest, “Mom! The dog is not listening to me!” I pretend not to hear him. I pretend not to exist. Please, God, make me disappear. But, sadly, I do not. And the child leans into the shower to be certain I heard him. He stares a little too long. I scowl at him. “GO. A. WAY.”

I dry myself and wrap the towel around me (I mean, I have neighbors. Again, it’s for the public good.) and go yell for the dog to come inside. I close the door behind the dog. I get dressed. I dry my hair. I start to wonder if my children have been abducted because, since I got out of the shower, there has not been one single interruption.


Posted by: Modern Mom | May 21, 2014

Grocery Store? I’d rather die.


I hate the grocery store. I didn’t always hate it. Just since I had kids. Specifically… two boys. If you asked me to choose either torture by waterboarding or taking both my kids to the grocery store, I’d snap on my goggles and nose plug. It’s that bad. Every time I go I swear I’ll never take them again. But, inevitably, I do, because well, my family needs to eat.
Back in the days before kids I judged moms who had misbehaving children in the grocery store. I would certainly never be one of them. Wasn’t I righteous? Ha.
Last week I was single parenting while my hubby was away on business. I was in desperate need of a few items. Like, food and toilet paper. The prospect of going to the store with them both was so frightening that I started trying to convince myself that “if we don’t have food… we won’t need toilet paper!” Brilliant! In theory at least. But in practice, I was getting tired of fishing through leftovers and freezer burnt fish sticks.
I womanned up (that’s a step higher than manned up. ‘Cause that’s what it takes for me to go to the store with them both.) and we set out for the grocery store on Friday morning. I like to go on Friday morning because that’s when the firefighters do their shopping. Anything to help make my experience a little better.
We arrive at the store and I give my pep talk while I get the reusable bags out of the trunk. I try to be positive, encouraging. I offer a bribe. I say a quiet prayer, “Please let this time be different than every other time.” I take a deep breath and we head across the parking lot.
Already I am having to get after them. Don’t touch other people’s cars. Don’t run! Hold my hand. Stay with me. Geez. Do I EVER stop talking? No wonder they don’t hear my voice anymore.
I throw my purse in the cart seat because, let’s face it, nobody wants to sit there, and we begin to shop. I pull out my list in the hopes of getting at least 75% of what I need on that list into the cart. The little one wants to sit in the cart. I move my purse out of the seat. NO! This is not the seat he wants. He wants to sit in the basket. Begrudgingly I throw him in the basket and tell him he won’t be able to sit there for long.
I hit the produce aisle first. Bananas, check. Carrots, check. Peppers, check. So far so good. Wait… how did a pineapple get in my cart? Go put this back where you got it. Only things mommy says to put in the basket, go in the basket.
We are moving along and the oldest boy is actually being helpful. I hold the bag, he picks a few apples. He drops them in the bag a little too hard. I roll my eyes and try to bite my lip. It doesn’t matter. I will cut the bruises off later.
Produce, check. Moving on to the bulk foods. I begin scooping things into bags. I bust the oldest digging candy out of the bins and feeding it to his brother. I yell at him to stop getting into the bins. I turn my attention back to what I was doing. I hear another bin snap shut. “I said to keep your hands out of the bins!” Oops. I said that a bit loud. I look around for anyone who might have seen my thieving child sneak another candy. I remind him that a reward is at stake and if he doesn’t straighten up there will be no ice cream.
It is now, in the bulk foods section, the one clear in the far back corner of the store, furthest possible point away, that my son declares he has to pee. Loudly. And it’s urgent. This boy has the bladder of a nervous cocker spaniel. “You can hold it.” I say. “I am not going clear to the other side of the store right now. We just got here.”
Meats and cheeses are next. The oldest boy starts messing with his little brother. Little brother starts screaming. That’s his specialty. I grab the oldest to get his immediate attention and lean in close to say through gritted teeth, “stop messing with your brother. Just leave him alone.”
I get further into the section and realize that the youngest has squashed the bananas from all his squirming. We turn back to the produce section. Lord knows we can’t live without bananas. I remove the child from the cart. I replace the bananas and head back to the cheeses.
Now I have two children at large. The oldest, the instigator, starts running and ducking around the meat coolers and hiding from his brother. I try to yell at them, without yelling. And give them the burning look that says, “If you don’t get over here and fast, your butt is grass.” You know the one. An ancient old woman stops to give me this gem, “Someday you’ll miss these days.” I give her a half smile when really all I want to do is punch her in the throat, and push my cart away.
I am informed once more about the need for a bathroom. I am aware. However, I still have shopping to do and we are still at the farthest point from the bathrooms. Dairy case next.
They both want to get the milk. Why is completely beyond me. They can hardly lift it out of the case much less into the cart. They protest so loudly that I agree to get two gallons of milk so they can each try to heft one into the cart. I end up helping with both gallons after a near breakage on the concrete.
Creamer, cottage cheese, butter, check. Now I am faced with the yogurt section. It never scared me before, those tiny unassuming yogurt cartons, but now… First of all, the boys are drawn to the really expensive yogurts with unidentifiable ingredients. We go through yogurt like it’s laced with crack. They are totally addicted. So it’s the cheap stuff for us. Luckily, the cheap stuff I buy has ingredients I recognize. Yay! But it also doesn’t have a flashy label with animals, or pie, or delicious fruits on it. They don’t WANT that yogurt!
I can see a tantrum coming on. “If you start throwing a fit in this store I will put you in time out right here and now. Don’t you think I won’t.” He’s sees by the wild wide eyes that I am serious. He realizes defeat. He backs down. Score one for mom.
I look up and realize the oldest is grabbing himself and doing the potty dance. What IS it about that back corner of the store that makes a kid have to pee so bad? I survey my list. Can he make it through the next few aisles? We still have half the store to get through. Ugh. So we make a bee-line for the bathrooms. I almost run over that old lady that spoke to me earlier. I laugh a little inside.
I stand outside the bathroom with the groceries and the littlest, asking if he needs to go. No. Are you sure? This could be your only chance. He’s sure. Hmm. When the oldest comes out of the men’s room I task him with watching the cart and go into the bathroom with the protesting boy. I tell him he HAS to try because I’m NOT coming back.
Moments later the oldest walks in. What the heck? Where’s my purse? You’re supposed to be out with the cart. He gives me a blank stare. Go back out there! I leave the littlest in the bathroom and go check on the situation outside. Purse, check, boy, check. So I wait with him. What is taking so long? I grab my purse this time and instruct the boy not to leave the cart. I find my son trying to operate the soap dispenser. I help him. In walks the oldest again. *sigh* I hope nobody walks off with my cart, because then I’d have to start all over again.
Potty stop over. We regroup and head back to the back corner of the store. Now… where was I? Right. It’s time to start combing the inner aisles of the store for all the little things I need. Wait. I have only one child. “Where is your brother?” I ask him. He shrugs. I look around. I use my mommy instincts and think like a four-year-old. We are near the cookies. Sure enough, that is where I find him. I grab his hand and start lecturing him as I drag him back on track. I get a sidelong glance of judgment from someone who probably doesn’t have kids yet.
I am comparing prices, finding the items on my list, and trying to get them into the cart. Boys are thwarting my efforts. They are taking items out of the cart. They are adding unapproved items. I am losing patience. “LEAVE the cart alone! STOP touching everything!”
I am tired of fighting with boys. They are now racing up and down the aisle. I no longer care. Haters can judge all they want. I’m just done. I’m examining my list to see if I can abandon the last portion of it. Is there anything I simply cannot live without for the next oh… lifetime? I decide to cut my losses. I announce to them that there will be no ice cream and that we are leaving the store.
One is excited to be leaving. I’m not sure if he heard the first part. The other is completely devastated at his loss and pleads with me to reconsider. “We will be good! I PROMISE!” Your promises mean nothing to me, child.
I push my cart, devastated child screaming behind me, to the check stand. I’m sure they see this all the time, but it’s still really embarrassing. I load my groceries on the conveyor. The oldest wants to help. Fine. Except that he can’t reach in the basket far enough. So I have to hold him up so he can pick one miserable item at a time and put it on the belt. All the while I’m thinking, For the love of Pete, please hurry up. Holy cow you’re slow. I know this is supposed to be great that he’s helping, but I just want to get out of here before I see anyone I know. Finally I set him down and thank him for his help. Then, like a woman possessed, I load the rest of the items on the conveyor.
The youngest is now being scolded by the cashier not to go into the adjoining cashier’s area. All he sees are buttons. Glorious buttons. “Get out of there!” I grab him and put him in the empty basket. Ah, containment.
I begin bagging my groceries as fast as I can. Again the oldest wants to help. No. I will not have my eggs and bread smashed. He gives me attitude. He pouts. I give him the look of imminent death. It does not phase him. I threaten to put him in the “baby seat” of the cart if he’s going to act like a baby.
They begin asking me for candy. Why the HELL do they put candy at the registers? That should be illegal. No. Absolutely not. That’s the last thing I need. Two rowdy boys sugared out of their skulls while I’m on day 5 of single parenting. No thanks. I say “no” so many times that I think I start to growl it. Then I end the line of questioning with, “I have answered your question. The answer is NO. If you ask me again, I will put you in time out.”
Then the cashier chimes in, bless her. “We put naughty boys to work in the warehouse sorting rotten potatoes.” She winks at me. The boys look at me and I give them the look that says, better watch out. They stick to the cart as I load it with groceries. Where the heck was this woman when we were in aisle 14? I’m going to hire her to shop with me.
I think I got about 50% of my list out of the store. A fair accomplishment in my book. Please don’t make me go back.

Posted by: Modern Mom | May 12, 2014

Girls Day Out


For Mother’s Day all I wanted was to go away. Does that make me a terrible mom? I don’t think so. Time away from my munchkins is vital to my being able to be a sane parent. Or at least semi-sane. So my husband, bless his heart, gave me just that.

We started our day with brunch as a family. Me, hubby, my folks, my brother and his girlfriend, and the kids. Then us girls took off and left the guys alone with the kids in a trail of dust with shouts of, “Good luck!” as we sped away. The plan was to head up the Columbia River Gorge for the day, pick up a wine shipment at one of our favorite wineries, and just be free for a day.

We stopped first at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA, where I got married eight years ago, to reminisce and to have a drink and enjoy the views. Then it was on up the Gorge to pick up a wine shipment and do some tasting at Syncline winery. They make truly beautiful wines. Very complex in flavor and heavenly. I think we walked away with 2 cases of wine from there. Yowza. Did I mention how tasty their wines are?

From there we visited another winery, Domaine Pouillon. Another standard stop for us with more tasty wines. Although I think we only left there with three bottles.

On the way back home we crossed the Bridge of the Gods into Cascade Locks in hopes of getting some soft serve ice cream. We bailed on the plan when we saw that the only ice cream joint in the tiny town had a line out both doors and down the block that didn’t seem to be moving at all. No soft serve is worth that kind of wait.

Our last point of interest was a favorite Gorge tour stop, the mysterious Rock House. Nobody knows anything about this house as there is no public record about it. It is hidden right off the highway and you have to know exactly what to do to find it. We enjoy the stop because of the beautiful setting and the allure and mystery of this ramshackle little house. Was it a fire that destroyed it? Time? People? Nobody knows. But it’s sure fun to guess.

IMG_0739 IMG_0736 IMG_0737

We came home to more wine and a beautiful dinner prepared by my hubby. Steak and lobster. Mm mm mm! And to think I was just bragging on his grilled lobster during the day, without knowing that was his plan for dinner. Must have read my mind.

A truly wonderful day spent with my mom and my friend. Thanks, guys, for letting us run away for the day!


Posted by: Modern Mom | March 13, 2014

Continued Inspiration

It must be the Spring bug or something, but whatever it is, I hope it stays. I have been feeling so inspired lately, and getting a lot of scrapping done. Finished up my youngest boy’s baby albums last week, and am now starting in on the last 8+ years of photo back-up I have sitting on the shelves.

Here are some of the recent projects.




How hard do you think this one was on my borderline OCD personality? *twitch*

Posted by: Modern Mom | March 5, 2014

Detective Mom

Sometimes kids lie. Fortunately they are not very good at it. Lately it has been an issue with our oldest boy. When he came to me yesterday with a pretty serious cut on his hand, and no real story to explain it, I had some detective work to do.

Here are the facts as presented by the defendant:

  • I cut my hand on a piece of glass that I wanted to show you.
  • The glass is outside.
  • I don’t know how it got there.

Years and years of mystery novels and detective dramas have taught me a thing or two. So I began with a line of questioning. How did this happen? Where was the glass? Where did the glass come from? I was getting nowhere fast.

I doctored him up and asked him to show me this piece of glass. He took me outside to the scene of the crime. It was a shattered debris field of what was once my beautiful blue glass bird bath dish. I was not amused. I hit him with yet another line of questioning. The hard hitting kind that usually get answers. He clammed up. I tried to pit the little one against him, but he clammed up too. I got nowhere but frustrated. And, you know, it’s hard to play good cop bad cop when there’s only one of you.

I sent them both inside while I carefully picked miniscule shards of blue glass out of the rock path and grass. The debris field was large. Unusually large. I noted that there was a pattern stemming from a large white mark on a corner of one of the rocks. Obviously where the dish hit, then shattered into a million pieces in a northeasterly fashion. Oddly, a few of the larger pieces were back by where the dish originally sat, out of line with the rest of the debris. A picture started forming in my mind.

The boy had taken my birdbath dish for a walk, dropping it on the rock path where it then violently exploded glass shards everywhere. He then tried to cover up his mess by picking up the glass and transporting it back to the original location. That is when he cut himself and had to go for help.

It was a regular Scooby Doo moment. I had solved it. Now, I needed to monologue about it to clue the rest of the audience in on my discoveries. So I went and had a conversation with him, offering him a chance to redeem himself. “I know what happened,” I said, “and now is your chance to tell the truth and save yourself from a second punishment for lying.” Eat your heart out Dick Tracy.

He fessed up. Which is when I discovered that I had one fact wrong. I had assumed my innocent little boy accidentally broke my birdbath. No. He admitted that he had in fact tried to smash it. Mm hm. Guilty!

Lying and breaking my dish. The boy has been found guilty on both charges. He has been sentenced to 2 weeks of work duty. Mommy justice has been served. And I am pretty impressed with myself for deducing what really happened. Of course, I am a mom, and that’s just part of the job description.

Posted by: Modern Mom | March 3, 2014

On The Workbench

The kids’ birthdays are coming up. My oldest will be six and the youngest will be four. Milestones like that make me think about how far behind I am on my scrapbooks. So I’ve been pushing really hard to get baby albums finished up. Yesterday I completed the last layout in the first album of my youngest boy’s baby album. (They each have two albums. One for the first six months, one for the second six months. Because, let’s face it, mamas with digital cameras take a lot of pictures.)

I was beyond thrilled. I mean, this represents the last 3 years of my scrapbooking life. Three years of painstaking work. My husband, however, did not give me the reaction I was looking for when I rushed out to the shop, book in hand, to interrupt his obviously-not-as-important-as-mine job that he was working on. Something about a car.

Anyway… here are a couple of pages I completed this week to help catch me up a tad more. Same papers, two different birthday layouts.



Posted by: Modern Mom | February 19, 2014

Our Friend the Police Man

When I achieved Mother of the Year status, about this time last year, my then 2-year-old met a fine police officer that my husband went to school with. Probably the nicest police officer you could ever hope to meet. Anyway… I won the award for locking my son inside my car in the grocery store parking lot. Hubby was out of town. So, what does a girl in a panic do? Call the police, of course.

Did you know that police don’t respond to such calls? What’s up with that? No longer can you count on your local law officer to help you unlock your vehicle and pretend they do this kind of thing all the time, and won’t laugh behind your back at the station while they eat doughnuts. No. But they will ask you all kinds of personal information on the phone before they tell you they won’t respond. Probably so they can ask if anybody knows you. Fortunately I’m not from this little town originally. Also fortunately, my husband is.

Now, before you lecture me on how to use a cell phone I’d like to comment that I was not part of the smart phone generation at the time. I had a dumb phone. A very dumb phone. So, I was standing there wondering what to do. I can’t just leave a baby in a car in a parking lot while I go inside and ask for a phone book. (really? who uses those anymore?) I might be arrested. No sooner had I thought this than a squad car pulls into the lot.

It was the officer I had met recently at my husband’s high school reunion. He had heard my name when I called in, apparently, and came to make sure things were OK. I guess the reason they don’t respond to lock-out calls is that newer cars are really hard to jimmy. Probably a good thing. For people who don’t lock their kids in cars.

Anyway, he offered to give me a ride home to get a spare key while his partner stayed with my son and the car. My hero. I am proud to say that the first time I rode in a cop car was in the front seat.

So…. ever since that day “Officer Kelly” has been living in the recesses of my little boy’s mind. I didn’t know this until…

I was having a particularly difficult time with him and his defiance phase. We heard a police siren outside, and he asked me where they were going. I took the opportunity to make some adjustments to his attitude. So I said, matter-of-factly, “They’re probably coming for you.”

His eyes widened. “Did you call Officer Kelly?” I didn’t realize he had remembered, so it threw me a little, but I’m quick on my feet.

“Sure did. I told him you’ve been back talking your mom.” I tried to stifle a laugh.

This sent him into a panic. “I’ll be good, mom. I won’t back talk you anymore. I promise. Please call them and tell them not to come!”

“Okay, but only if you’re good.” I picked up the phone and pretended to dial and talk. Miraculously the siren stopped, and he was convinced. I love timing like that. It worked, too. When I need him to toe the line, I tell him I’ll call our friend Officer Kelly. He snaps right in line. Officer Kelly knows nothing of this, of course. But I sure appreciate being able to use that old memory of him to my advantage occasionally. We mamas have to use extreme measures sometimes. Thanks Kelly. Both for saving my bacon and for keeping my kid in line without even knowing it.

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