7QT: The Bright Side. Memories of a Family Weekend Getaway and the worst kind of Two Hour Delay

1. Managing to make it out of the door, into the car, without forgetting a single essential item or suitcase and thereby finding no reason to turn around the overstuffed vehicle should have provided my anxiety more comfort. Yet, the suspicion only welled, leaving me to wonder when, where, and how the difficulty of traveling in a crowded airport with three kids, a nervous mom, and a super calm dad would occur. With barely a hiccup at the check in counter, and strangely obedient children agreeing to hold my hand and carry their own things, I began to prepare myself for what had to be the worst security line experience of my life. Yet, we were “family of small children profiled” and put into the line that no longer demands the removal of shoes, laptops, breast milk, or requires a rather intimate feel up. Even if I was unwillingly participating in a TSA research experiment, only one of my kids ran around the metal detector and it caused more laughter than tasing, so again, seamless.  Personal experience then led me to discover that a fearless toddler, overly cautious and rather clumsy 4 year old, and a jumpily anxious mom in the middle is perhaps the worst combination for a ride on an escalator. We still had several minutes before boarding and enjoyed a happy and considerably quiet family airport meal during which the kids ate the cheese and chewed the turkey before they managed to spit it back out almost undetected. Then, the difficulty came. The evening flight, scheduled perfectly for a bedtime arrival, delayed by twenty minute increments for a total of two hours. The first delay was spent setting up and refereeing relay races in empty gates leading me to finally experience a bright side of my city’s airport losing major airline hubs. Next, we ruined an entire restaurants meal at TGIFridays and ordered the most dissipointing $7 ice cream dessert I have ever seen. With chocolate on my pants and ice cream in my hair, I begged the good Lord to get us on a plane, as the kids jumped along empty gate seats chasing planes taking off saying, “WE MISSED OUR CHANCE AGAIN!” indicating zero understanding of the process of airline travel or plane destination. At two hours past beditme we boarded and were asked to seek refuge in the last two rows of the airplane, also known as the baby ghettos, where all children under three who could potentially throw a tantrum or freak out when they can’t figure out how to pop their ears are forced to sit and repeatedly smell the altitudes effects on bathroom users. The bright side of landing 5 hours past bedtime? No matter how poorly behaved and bitey a baby is, several passengers will comment “she did so well!” And when we finally rent a car and make it to our destination slightly past 1:00 am, the kids sleeping in the back will be so knocked out that they wake up the next morning positive that it was magic that put them in their Florida beds.

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Helpful.

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Rita tampering with a stranger’s luggage.

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And in hour 2, the parents just take pictures when their baby grabs a knife on the table of an airport restaurant.

2. No matter how exhausting a travel experience is, even when a trip is only three days long, after 7-12 minutes spent in the sun, playing in sand, together as a family, while Rita and the birds run away from the waves with almost the exact same scamper, every delay, cold weather day, and recent annoying experience, will be forgotten and feelings of rejuvination will overwhelm. Even if the kids begin purposefully throwing sand in each other’s eyes at minute 13.

3. The Brightest Side: Without a doubt my favorite memory is the flawlessly planned night away given to me as a birthday present by my husband, and favorite dinner partner. As I nervously explained needless details to the kid’s babysitter, their big cousin, he whisked me away and gave me so much quality time my love tank almost exploded. First, a stop at a coffee shop where even the ice is made from coffee making every sip better than the last. Then, all my dreams came true as he pulled over at Nordstrom Rack and gave me free reign. One pair of Kate Spade heels coming in at pennies later, we arrived at our hotel and stuffed our faces with delicious food, more food, and more food, because, apparently, what parents do with a night away is eat like there will never be a tomorrow. There was a tomorrow, and we ate again. It was our first night away from the children in a few years and it was truly wonderful. I thought for sure I would be welcomed home with an open armed hugged from the baby I’ve never spent a night from. But, instead, she gave me an open palmed push to the face and ran to Daddy with excitement and cheering.

4. With a promise of a boat ride and conditions much too windy and wavy for a sane dad to take toddlers on a boat, we went anyway. The pontoon boat, made for smooth seas and low speed, met knew limits and high pitched screams. As the children begged, “daddy why are you doing this to us??!! Please daddy save us all!! Go back, daddy, go back!!,” and the raging rapids of the ocean drenched us all over and over again, I do not believe either parent has laughed harder in months. It wasn’t so much that we found the paralyzing fear of our children to be that funny, but more the fact that we realized how dumb we are and were so soaking wet with a continuous flooding of sea water on a boat designed for turtle speed.  We turned around and survived with a few family member beach onlookers wondering why God ever decided to entrust us with children.

5. 3 days of sun later, it was time to return to the frozen tundra of Pittsburgh on the 28th anniversary of my birth. With several birthday treats already had, Josie was the first to greet me in the morning with “mommy, its my birthday, where is the cake?” and soon after James said,”did you get me toys today for the birthday?” A card signed by each with the ever special message of “thank you for feeding me lunch and wiping my bum when I poop,” made a mom feel extra noticed. While driving late to the airport amidst a baby/toddler/little boy brawl of the century carried on nice and loud, my patience was lost and out I blurted, “ALL I WANT FOR MY BIRTHDAY IS FOR YOU TO STOP FIGHTING!!!” Silence ensued and as soon as my guilt cued the internal soundtrack of, “Its my party and I’ll cry if I want to,” James broke it up with “Sorry mom, but we were already planning on getting you a flower so….I think we can keep fighting.” And when the return flight is delayed just as much as the departure in a much too crowded airport followed a much too turbulent flight for a crazy person like me to handle, the mile high diaper bomb was generously disarmed by my husband. 13 decades of the rosary later we safely landed and I began to breath again. Then some lady named Sophia Loren accidentally stole our luggage mistaking it for her own. Maybe a diaper fell out along the way to indicate it was not hers but just as we were finished filing a missing luggage form, she brought it back. Also upon her arrival, the continuous cries of James regarding his “favorite football underpants being gone forever and stolen by a mean person,” were quieted. It was the GREATEST birthday and the BEST trip. Back to snow.

6. On Wednesday, sweet Josephine celebrated her “beast day,” also known as the Feast of St. Joseph. To mark the occasion we froze them with ice cream and played for two hours outside at a park. Her excitement for simplicity and fashion sense flare will forever make a mom smile. To Josie: May you always find a reason to dump out an entire bag of tortilla chips to “celebrate the morning.” May your humor keep your worries light, and may your big brown eyes always continue to look to God with the very same wonder and delight. Thank you for teaching me how to have fun and open things.

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7. This week I learned to never let a baby near freshly squeezed orange juice, a container of strawberries and that no marriage has truly been tested until the sink breaks. A very special thanks to my husband Jim for his dedication to solving the problem with the Walmart special bathroom faucet. While the kitchen has never looked better, I hope the only plumbing issue we attempt to ever again fix together is playing Super Mario Brothers.

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Happy Snowy Spring. 

A few Confessions to end my 27th year

1. On Monday, I’ll officially enter my late twenties and turn 28. Remembering the new number to indicate my actual age will surely require concentration considering I already often forget my age as it has little consequence on my day-to-day life. Often, when I do reveal my age, its telling is met with concern for my child spacing, a reminder that I have at least 15 more years of potential child rearing, or the ever confusing comment, “at least you are getting the baby stage out of the way why you are still young so that you still have the energy to return to your career.” 27 for me marked my first complete year of being a mom to three kids, and was indubitably, the year I laughed the most. I probably also cried the most, but such is young motherhood. And this weekend, the Guinness will be flowing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, in mom moderation, of course.

2. Sweet Josie revealed career aspirations of her own. It was a public display met with the unrivaled enthusiasm of an innocent toddler. At noonish on Tuesday, our Target trip ended with a rather exhausted mom and hungry cart full of three children. The Starbucks inside of the Target seemed to have all of the overpriced treats for my needs and a picnic at the park. As I ordered my drink and their snacks I began to notice her acute attention to detail, eyes widening, breath stalling, amazement in every sense of the word. She began to speak. “When, when, when…” The studder increased in volume with every repeated word. Confined by sitting, she decided to stand and wave her arms with a few claps in between more studdering. Several more “whens” were spoken, each one growing closer to a piercing shout. She managed to unbuckle her seat and its broken chains seemed to give her the freedom she needed to finish her shouting sentence. Most, if not all, of the store had her full attention, which sounds like a mom exaggeration, but the girl was LOUD and people notice loud. Finally, she announced, “WHEN I GROW UP, I’M GONNA MAKE SOMETHIN IN DHERE!.” Her announcement was met with thorough enjoyment from several adults most especially me, and it was abundantly clear that the girl meant what she said and won’t be forgetting it. So, it is with my full parental approval that I say, although I prefer my coffee black, I’ll let you make me a vanilla latte, extra shot 1/4 syrup, anytime you like, sweet baby barista Josephine.

3. Today for the first time in months, all three of my children are napping. We are traveling later and I threatened each of them with the “we cannot go unless you nap,” and somehow, my joke of a disciplinarian voice worked. Though I felt that I appreciated nap time when it was almost guaranteed to me, I wish I would have taken Billy Madison’s advice to “cherish it,” just a bit more seriously. And since vacation threatening seems to work, there may very well be a few pretend safaris planned around here in the future.

4. In an effort to encourage a Lenten spirit of sacrifice, even among the youngest in the household, I did my best to put on the ever rare in this household craft spirit. First we baked expired pie crust and as it was baking I explained that we would be making a “crown of thorns,” for Jesus out of dough and toothpicks and everytime we do something nice we can pull out a toothpick and “make his head feel better.” As Josie tried stabbing James and James tried stabbing Josie, I did my best to explain the rules again. “We undertand” they said and stopped stabbing for the moment. With high hopes I took the crust out of the oven and we began putting in the toothpicks. Next year, I will remember to explain “this is not for eating,” a bit more clearly.

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5. Thinking we were well and done with the flu, Jim and I gave a talk on “Rules for Fair Fighting and Conflict Resolution,” to engaged couples in our diocese over the weekend. With Rita’s snot on the back of my pants, we arrived with a relatively solid message about dialogue and the importance of expressing in I statements and echoing with empathy. Yet, minutes into the talk, distraction and sickness began to take over once again and though I think we sort of made it through, we basically taught them nothing about good communication and I shared a lot of gross stories about cleaning vomit and the perils of momdom. When I made it back to the car we looked at each other and said, “what did we just say to those poor people?” My apologies to all of you, and I promise, though similar to a frat house in some ways (puke, no sleep, lots of bottles) marriage and parenthood is wonderful and not nearly as gross as I made it out to sound.

6. But actually, sometimes parenthood is really gross. Like when your naked baby runs away from you as you are taking care of another child’s bathroom business and also trying to talk to your sister-in- law on the phone and she climbs on the table, steals the fruit smoothie, spills it and then does the deed that fruit smoothies make babies do at record digesting speed. But this little detail in no way belongs in a marital communication talk, so again, I’m sorry.

We are off to enjoy a few days as a family, recharge, and maybe mom will find a few minutes to catch up on blogging too. The happiest of days to all of you.

Sundays are for Resurrections

…Mondays are for making up lost time on this blog…

After 8 straight days of someone expelling stomach acids, one day off, and two days back to all family illness hell, it seems like finally, maybe, just maybe, the highly contagious sickness has moved from this house to the one next door, so say a few prayers for my sister.

After two bouts each person, we woke up yesterday feeling strangely better, and extremely grateful for an opportunity to spend time with my family that did not involve sickness, crying, or sleeping. Following Church, we got crazy and seized the heck out of the Spring ahead.  With 15 minutes before showtime the attempt to make it across town to catch Disney On Ice without tickets was in full “pile them into carseats!” as fast as we could buckle.

Questions on the way included, “where are we going?” and “why are we going so fast?” I dodged the first with “its a surprise!” after learning the very important parent lesson of never revealing the fun location unless absolutely positive it will work out. With no tickets, 12 minutes to spare and poorer than poor planning, I was less than convinced. I suffered the consequences of then being asked if every house/building/tractor/large truck that we past was the “surpwise??” but I’m positive it was better than the time we promised riding roller coasters only to find the amusement park was too crowded and I blamed it on the police.

As we pulled up and illegally parked, James shrieked in excitement about seeing the “Penguins!” and the “guy that looks like Daddy.” I let him down by building up the parts with Buzz Light Year. Still confused, he decided to hold my hand anyway. Hands down, we looked like the worst parents in the building when only one child had a coat and the others loudly cried about being freezing. In we walked to a bombardment of $30-45 pieces of plastic worth a maximum of pennies and thousands of children dressed like princesses. In an effort to evade a future money pit vacation, I hinted at “being in Disney world,” and somehow managed to escape the well placed marketing of spinning-light up pieces of junk with, “I’m so sorry, but someone would probably lose an eye at our house. Let’s admire the dresses!”

While walking past the concessions to our cheapest seats, Jim and I began to experience the natural consequences of skipping lunch to make a show with only 15 minutes to spare, and only had ourselves to blame and a few almonds in my pocket. Peanuts are sort of healthy? And also highly choke-able. Nasty popcorn for the lunch hold-over.

We made it to the seats only 9 minutes late. The memory of the squeals as they witnessed the Beast skate onto the same ice as the Penguins are gold to me. And the skit included all of my favorite Beauty and the Beast banter, so it was a win all around. Since my children, for the most part, only have a general understanding of “princess,” and tend to think that all of them have guns like their favorite Leia, there were many questions as the several Disney princesses skated in the scantily clad ice outfits. And James, in his most polite voice, wondered, “these pritty girls are nice, but when do the race cars come out of that castle?” As well, “will anybody be using a hockey stick?” It then took a whole family effort to keep Rita from jumping out of her seat and onto the ice as dozens of “Its a Small World” singing skaters were released from the castle and brought onto the ice in sparkling ice vehicles. Our cue to exit was 30 minutes past nap time when Rita began pulling hair and stealing other people’s slushies. Not only did we beat traffic, but also, a parking ticket.

The rest of the day was spent outside in legitimate sunshine. They wore costumes and begged to go trick or treating. They played “Ring around the Josie, let’s all fall on Rita,” and she hardly minded at all. Jim gave them blueberry pie and they all cried because “there is jelly on my ice cream.” Darth Vador and Superman found unity in stealing M&Ms. Rita learned to say, “what’s that?” and “give me banana.”

Thank you Jesus, for the break from Lent, and for such a wonderful day.

“…how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man, Jesus, overflow for the many.” 

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The ticket seller was super nice when he said, “please sign this,” to which James began to write his name explaining “I thought that man would like to see my J’s,” and after the repeated screaming into the microphone because “I still don’t think he can hear me!”

 

 

 

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Hopefully big sister can fill little sister in on the proper way to approach a selfie.

 

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Instagram repeats.

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This picture accurately depicts several reasons why I chose Jim as my husband. Abides he does.

 

Happy week’s beginning.

The Flu.

It began with the sound heard and most feared by every mom around the world in precisely the wrong place: the newishly carpeted hallway, far away from a toilet, bucket, garbage can, or any other surface or container that could be easily cleaned or appropriately discarded. This week, that’s what I’ve learned about the flu. Itprefers to lash out on things that can be ruined once every twenty minutes for 24-48 hours per child and husband.

The flu also has particular time proclivities. While it can strike at whatever inconvenient time it likes, its initial attack is best initiated between the hours of 12am-3am, approximately 10-15 minutes after the matriarch and patriarch fall asleep. This leaves Dad pretty much impossible to wake up, and Mom solely responsible, at no fault of his own naturally deep, and deeply envied, sleeping state.

Even if it is begged, the flu does not spread quickly so as to get it over with. No, it lingers in a way that just when it appears dormant, the baby releases its virus all over the dinner table. This occurs approximately 20 minutes before the parents made dinner plans with friends. Its ability to make the warning, “eat your vegetables!” meaningless, fully covered in bacteria, yet not entirely unwelcome by those seated at the table under the age of 4 is most impressive. And 20 minutes before a fun thing is about to occur seems to be its second most preferred time strike.

Ruined plans, full-blown isolation from the exterior world, and various pieces of furniture and carpets ruined is annoying. Yet, there are few things harder, in my experience at least, than refusing a baby water or a bottle, words she has just learned to use politely with ‘please’ attached, when she desperately wants one and has absolutely zero understanding as to the reason for her mean mommy’s refusal.

As the others are slowly nursed back from pale, the last remaining child appears impervious to the flu’s peril. She runs, plays, all while laughing at the flu in the face of her older brother and younger sister for so long that it really does seem impossible that she will catch it, too. “What an immune system she has,” her mother brags. “It’s almost stronger than her personality,” she continues to her husband as she is about to fall asleep. The sound strikes again just as her eyelids close. This time, it’s from sweet Josephine’s bed. Favorite attachment objects and long blond curls are involved and very dirty. Somehow she still laughs when it’s over and immediately asks for a popsicle and milk. It’s a long night filled with a lot of “no’s.”

The next morning that proceeds zero sleep from either parents is welcomed fully by the recovered older brother with energy and a whole lot of Carpe Diem. “Could you go visit your (thought to also be recovered) baby sister for a few minutes?” the parents beg. “Sure!” he scampers. Approximately 30 seconds later he returns confused, bewildered, and apparently unfamiliar with the contents of vomit. “Um Mom? Rita did something in there. I’m pretty sure its paint or something. Like red paint, with some pink, a little bit of owange and some green. There is no blue. And she painted her whole bed. And it smells weal weal bad.” The description, though possibly concerning for his context clue reasoning, is clear. It’s never leaving us.

The flu is the worst and it comes to ruin at least 7 days and maybe the washing machine, too.

If the flu were a body part, I think it would be a raised middle finger.

Also, if money is promised for making it to an appropriate puking place, the kids count, and it adds up pretty fast. FYI.

May the Fat Tuesday Revelry be fun and stomach flu free.

Prayers all around for a Holy start to Lent mañana.

“Hey Kids, Where are you?”

Parenting has had a funny way of revealing the external realities of my behavior and likes to continually deliver it to my awareness brutally, honestly, and, most likely, pronounced incorrectly. For instance, before my son turned 2, I had little to no awareness at the frequency or the intensity with which I reacted to a mistake, mishap or mess by use of the exclamation “Damn It!” While I might have to spend a good amount of time with Pavlov’s Dog in a cage of my own before I officially break my reactionary bad habit, at least I’m aware? I’m sorry to James, Josie, Rita, and their future and current teachers, friends, and parents of friends for their frequent use of a word they really should not know, and my inability to break my bad habit and theirs. On a number of occasions, under the maternal wisdom of my big sister, mother to 6 non-swearing boys, my attempts to curtail its usage and convince my kids that what I actually say is “Slam it!” a phrase that just rhymes with the nonsensical “damn it!” has also proved fruitless. Please note that it has been successful in turning “moron” into “linora” (magic, i guess?) and Sh*t into “I quit!” Most of the conversations involving a much more frequently used ‘damn it’ have ended much more dismally for me with a convinced and confident James explaining, “no mom, it is definitely ‘Damn it.’ YOU taught us it.”

During today’s late afternoon, pre dinner hour of desperation appropriately coined “The 4′ O’clock Meltdown,” for all family members, especially Mom, my children began to play house as the parents with their invisible children. I learned a few new things:

1) Though it often feels like my children do not give a “damn it!” as to whether or not they flee the table before they finish their “wreckfist, wunch, or dinner,” bringing to the forefront of my psyche a sense of inferior disciplinary skills and presence, they do in fact experience a very strict tone, inflection, and the sound seems to come mostly from the throat.

2) As the title of the post indicates, I often lose them. And most often, they are found in the bathtub.

3) 10 minutes into their role play, the children received a visit from their grandmother. She brought presents and James and Josie, the parents, had absolutely no control over their contents or whether or not they could have them. Even after a stern warning from Dad, “eat your dinner first, kids” the apparent disobeying left him rolling his eyes in powerlessness and “I guess this is what’s happening.” Kids: this is your mother speaking. Your awareness is duly noted even though I can do nothing about it.

4) I ask the question, “were you playing in my make up again,” much more than I realized.

5) I think, as indicated by what appeared to be lots of refused hugging kissing and back pats from the invisibles, that maybe they find me a bit too affectionate.

6) They want a dog.

7) I have successfully communicated a love and enthusiasm for grocery shopping and bringing them along with me despite my true feelings.

Additionally, when I interrupted their play with “how many children do you have?” both of the capable of semi-coherent verbalization said “7.”

No, Kids, there are 3 of you. 7 is just what it feels like. Looks like I taught them that too. 

A Snow Day

As the wife to an employee of a Catholic School, there is absolutely nothing more I look forward to than a 5:36am automated voice call that says “two-hour delay.” It is made better when that call is followed by an even more exciting 7:36am call that says “school is closed,” for seemingly little to no reason on this warmer than the recent average, bright sunny day. And since all boy Catholic schools tend to do mostly whatever they want, anyway, there is little to no threat of him having to make up this day some other day.  With Josephine awake and hall darting since 4:45am, and as a mother who seriously lacks any creativity so early in the morning, or at most times of the day, it was clear that the idea to pack the entire contents of her wardrobe into a suitcase and dream a wonderful adventure would only distract a girl of such rambunction for 2-3 moments or less. With that, it is with great gratitude that I went back to sleep for approximately 7 uninterrupted minutes, claiming his day off for my own. With Jim helping with breakfast duty, and three kids who don’t go to school on Tuesdays yet anyway, it is clear that there is no one in this house that appreciates, or benefits more from, a “snow day” than I do.

By 10 am, the number of times I called my husband’s name must have surely surpassed 10,000. It wasn’t even that I wanted anything, necessarily. Maybe it was a pursuit of some sort of married solidarity on a day I normally forgo alone. Some sort of “just look at what they do!” at 8am on a Tuesday when he is otherwise counseling young men to be better individuals and closer to God, surely an indispensable role of encouragement and wisdom that high school boys most definitely need.  Here I am waging a spiritual battle of patience and pre-coffee fortitude that needs counseling all its own. It’s just that the level of fix involved in a little partner-up is truly the saving grace of a stay at home mom, like me.  As if he has never seen the three-minute begging to end their juice withdrawal, followed by 20 seconds of chugging silence, then the what seems like an intravenous high indicated by barefoot kitchen island laps that inevitably end with someone smashing their face in the come down.  Its all just so much more entertaining when Jim is home, so thanks to the Big Man for the weather and the husband.

And since snow days should be had in the snow, like all other days of this winter, the activity before second breakfast involves 45 minutes of dressing in snow gear for approximately 17 minutes of outdoor play. Rita waddles with two boxing like mittens stretched out, her eyes mostly, but barely visible. James, with his snowpants missing, wears purple and is not happy about it. Josie, free as the snowflakes falling, dresses herself and spends most of her time flying down sledding hills face first and with no fear.

Perhaps the best  part is that on days like today, the kids only want what Grace has coined the “fun parent.” And I, most certainly, am not that parent.

Snowman? Dad’s got it.

Hold me? No mom, put me down.

Zip me? Would you mind if I asked daddy?

Hey, Dad? What’s for lunch? You making it? Yep!

And with that let me be the only one on the internet to say, “carry on with as much fervor as you like, Winter.”

“Vawentines” day

Valentines are what my husband affectionately refers to as “crap.” Though I am not one to ever refuse an opportunity to binge on chocolate, I tend to agree. The one year we did celebrate included a scavenger hunt around the house in which Jim placed several clues far out of the reach of his 5ft tall wife. I was too lazy to get a latter, so maybe the new tenants are enjoying the candy I couldn’t reach.

I did, however, have full intentions on teaching my kids all about the traditions of forced romanticism. As I chugged the cart vehicle around Target with three kids in tow, I explained all the in and outs and what have you’s about cards and candy and affection, James interrupted. “Uh mom, I’m not really interested in this.” His words, consistent with those of his father, did not hold up when he realized that he too would be receiving so much great crap to join the crowded drawers of his bathroom.

So, we’ve drawn hearts and made approximately 4 million cards for people we don’t know but may be in need of a red glittery note signed with a backwards J and scribble. Sugar intake has reached its max. Jim tried stealing the card I got for him by giving it to me first, so i think its a lackadaisical draw. We later got kicked out of my sister’s house when a red piñata party turned wet and wild with an indoor super soaker competition. (I’d like to point out that my children were more the victims of the situation, but Rita did go to town with a heart stamp and hard wood floors, so the welcome was overstayed in a number of ways. And hopefully those 6 boys give their mom something nice because she likes Vday and gave birth to 6 boys, and they just majorly soaked her basement with water guns.)

Even though Valentine’s Day is not for me, I do very much appreciate the Church’s celebration of World Marriage Week. It conveniently coincides with the legend of St. Valentine and a personal favorite Gospel. We are reminded of our essence as the “salt of the earth, the light of the world” and I am eternally grateful that my marital vocation is the way in which I get to attempt this mission. It was a silly discussion almost 10 years ago between me and JIm and a bunch of others at a Park City, Utah Asian restaurant, in which Jim suddenly became very attractive. His explanation of the meaning and power of salt as flavor and fuel for the earth and his demonstration of a spiritual interest, was the first time after years of knowing him, that the conversation got deeper than Dumb and Dumber. So here’s to World Marriage Week and salty dinners!

And for all you love birds, some rules of fair fighting when the flowers are dead and cherubs are busy:

1. Echo and empathize what the other has said before expressing your own feelings. The acknowledgement of being understood, especially in moments of difficulty, is enormously helpful.

2. If a fight takes place in front of the kids, so should the apology.

3. If its heated, calm down and discuss later.

4. Eliminate the words never and always. BUT! Never, ever, under any circumstances, ever, use the word fat.

5. Insinuating that your wife resembles an elephant in the 9th month of pregnancy is a solid path toward divorce.

May the weekend be good and lovely, and may the chocolate be as delicious as the wine. And if someone serves you a heart shaped steak, don’t eat it.

P.S.: Did you know that St. Valentine protested a bad emperor by marrying couples when marriage was outlawed as a way to promote men from going off to an unjust war? That is cool. Heart shaped steak and overpriced flowers…not so much.

The Day that Crosby came to visit.

The title of this post may in fact be misleading if a reader is hoping to hear about a visit from a superstar hockey player. This story is about a two-pound Yorkie named after said hockey player in perhaps the worst, most gender confused, and most glaringly disappointing pursuit of namesake anthropomorphism. If it’s any consolation for readers hoping for my husband’s Doppelganger, I am writing while watching hockey and The Mighty Ducks in between periods. 

Dogs: I have nothing against their dignity as dogs but I begin to grow annoyed when they are treated as people. Crosby, my parents two-pound female dog whose only similarity to the game of hockey is her approximately equal size to a puck, believes itself to be human, and is treated mostly like an incarnate deity. In the car, she sits only in the passenger seat. For dinner, there is a seat at the table and a plate of pasta prepared, ice cream for dessert. In the master bed it sleeps and also poops whenever it wants. It growls and it bites but insults against its nature are handled similar to a new mother hearing “your baby is ugly,” or something else equally absurd. But with my nest full and growing its hard to say what I won’t do when its empty, so carry on parents and enjoy your 6th baby.

Children: they challenge each and every characteristic about their parents, not by calculated intention, but by their nature and love anything contrary to their parents desires, mostly for their parent’s good and definitely for the salvation of their souls, most especially their mother’s particular distaste of a yipper dog.

Crosby was desperate for food and shelter and my sister got out of it because her kids are allergic.

The first notice of her four paw pitter patter, ears flopping, appearing extra  weighed down and floppy due to a few too many gourmet cheeseburgers, sent shrieking excited squeals through each of my children’s bodies and out through their mouths at a pitch that Crosby probably heard better than me. Before either parent could explain the terms of agreement of Crosby’s one and only overnight visit, each child spoke.

“OH MOMMY I AM SO HAPPY, I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO HAVE A DOG FOREVER!” screamed a very ill-informed James.

“Wow, it is just so nice to have a yoggy, woofy woof woof woof, you are mine, all mine” Josie spoke in terms she hoped Crosby would understand.

“Squeal, ahhhh, squeal, yippee” Rita scampered and chased until she could finally grasp the dog’s excess neck skin just begging a one year old to clamp as accidentally aggressively as possible.

They fed her juice from their cups, eggs straight from their plates. Chocolate was stolen from the pantry’s top shelf and generously shared with the probably allergic dog. Petting was attempted, but grabbing and throwing was much more effective and seemingly fun. The dog had a lot to worry about being away from home, much more than just Pepsi withdrawal.

Though I will most likely never allow anyone in this family to own a dog, I’ll admit, kids and animals are pretty cute, and yesterday mine taught me that caring for an animal whose preferred pastime is biting my ankle.  I’m super sure Crosby is happy to be home, though.

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5 favorite at home workouts: CrossFit Inspired, Stay at Home Mom Approved

This week as a way to show my love for Jenny’s Wellness Project and Natalie’s #30daymommybootcamp, as well as share my secret for staying sort-of sane, I’ve compiled five of my favorite workouts that require no equipment, space, and barely any time.  All workouts have been tested on my family room area rug while 3 children play/mostly misbehave, and are timed at about 10 minutes or less.

I learned how to properly perform these movements at CrossFit, and if possible, that’s where I like to do them. Since the mom-life can make it difficult to get out, there are lots of days that I do the following workouts barefoot and with babies. But, If you are in Pittsburgh and able, I really- really- very- very much recommend Alpha Athletics.

As gym class graduates, most of you may already know how to perform the movements. If I had spent less time purposefully messing up volleyball rotation, I may have learned them there too. Just in case of memory lapse, pregnancy brain, or a shared skill in distracting the gym teacher, consult the following videos for proper technique and a glimpse of extremely toned muscles.

PUSHUP:

SIT UP:

SQUAT:

BURPEE

1) 10 minute Total body workout:

1 minute of squats

2 minutes burpees

1 minute pushups

2 minutes sit-ups

1 minute jumping jacks

1 minute of squats

2 minutes burpees

Keep track of your reps and see how you improve over time!

 

2) For your bum:

5 Rounds (or more depending on how badly it hurts) of:

10 squats

10 lunges

Keep track of time and see how it improves!

 

3) AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) in 10 minutes

10 squats

10 situps

10 pushups

 

4) Get back your six pack right before you get pregnant again

10 Rounds

10 situps

30 second plank

 

5) NO Rest for the Weary

100 lunges

100 squats

100 burpees

Again, Keep track of your time and see how much it improves over time!

 

These movements make my motherhood easier, and since clumsy is my most frequent form of movement, you can trust me when I say that they don’t take all too much coordination. The better and more consistently I do them, the less my back hurts, and the stronger I feel. The shortness of the workouts encourages intensity, thus releasing aggression, thus protecting my husband and children from a crazy frustrated mom or furiously folded laundry.

And for your entertainment, and my embarrassment, I’m including a video of me deadlifting a weight that is almost equal, but still a lot less than, the weight of a full size human being approximately 6 inches off of the ground. I never thought I would care about lifting a heavy load, but experiencing an increase of strength really does feel quite good even though the video indicates a very bad mood.

AND THANK YOU, THANK YOU TO ALL WHO VOTED ME AS THE RUNNER UP TO MOST UNAPPRECIATED BLOG at Bonnie’s Shenaazing Awards!

To stronger backs and better bums!

Go to Moxiewife for better 5 favorites!

How to ruin Simon Says

The weather has kept all of the babysitters indoors and we have resorted to a Saturday evening full of playing botched versions of Simon Says. Before motherhood, I may have considered the elementary learning tool to be in “always a safe bet” territory. However, in a classic combination of disobedient children and an unathoritative mother, the learn to listen game quickly transformed into make mom spin until she’s dizzy. Although it started off promising with James following the directions of “touch your head,” and “touch your belly,” as soon as Josie received permission to “spin around,” flower child didn’t stop and James took charge. Rita, still fascinated with the discovery of her belly button since confusing “touch your belly,” with “lift up your shirt,” stood idle, naturally becoming the “wreck me” part of Josie’s destructive spinny path. Cabin fever encouraged me to follow my four year old’s directions right up until “touch your bum and say poopy,” was mistakingly said by our small Simon. His sisters found no objection to continuing playing the game even after it had been seriously ended! and obliged to his next direction to “take off your diapers and run.” So while I catch and cloth what feels like a dozen children, I say to you, Happy Saturday night. May all of your babysitters have snow tires.

And if you want, Vote!