Monday, February 13, 2012


In the very last episode of "Friends," there's this scene where Monica and Chandler, after much anticipation, become parents to twins through adoption~ one boy and one girl.  
When Monica is meeting her son for the first time, she tells him: 

"I'm going to love you so much that no woman is EVER going to be good enough for you!" 

It was a very Monica-ish thing to say. ;)
When this final episode of the final season of "Friends" aired (I'm still not over the fact that it's over...thank goodness for reruns), I was hugely pregnant with this guy right here:
Since he was my second son, I already knew all too well these feelings that Monica expressed.
I laughed at that line....because it was funny.
I nodded at the television....because I understood.
Maybe not the healthiest of feelings...but true nonetheless.

Yesterday I took Hud out for a hot chocolate date at Starbucks.
He loves hot chocolate, and it was freezing cold outside.
He loves a date with his mama almost as much as I love one with him.
It's something we started a few years ago.
I like the idea of teaching them how to treat girls, the importance of holding doors open, 
to be good listeners, to be gentlemen.
I try to take each of them out alone when I can...not in any particular order or with any real regularity, just when the opportunity presents itself, or if one of them seems to need a little extra mom time.
And I've learned a thing or two from these dates with my little men.
For one~ as cool as the three of them are together, they are a different kind of cool alone.
They talk about things that don't come up when the brothers are around,
and we have a quiet understanding that what is said during this time is sacred, and it stays there.
Out of the three, my middle man tends to be quieter,  intuitive...very aware of others and their feelings. He's so incredibly sweet and thoughtful it will almost make your heart hurt, it's so full.
He's quite happy to let his brothers dominate the spotlight, and loves to see them happy.
Don't misunderstand....he can hold his own too, and has a stubborn streak like I've never seen.
I'm thankful for that streak, and love when he shows see, we're kind of a loud bunch, his brothers and I, with Hud and his dad being the quieter ones.  Good thing, probably...can't imagine what it would be like if all 5 of us were like me.  Have mercy.
As he and I were talking and enjoying our hot chocolates, solving the world's problems, ;) 
I couldn't help but think about the day when he does start to date.
I honestly don't think it would have come up if he hadn't started this conversation:
(and this isn't a secret, so I can share it)
"Hey Mom, when we're done here I need to buy one of those heart-shaped boxes of chocolate."

And so I sit there for a moment, relishing in the fact that I really do have the sweetest, most thoughtful middle son in the world because he wants to buy me, his favorite girl, some candy for Valentine's day.
But I played it cool and said, "Ok...who is it for?"
Then I sat back and waited for him to flash those darling dimples and tell me that of course, the chocolate was for me, his favorite girl in the whole wide world.
But things didn't quite go like that.
Instead he told me, (dimples showing, and varying degrees of red flashing on his sweet cheeks) 
that they were for Susie* (name changed to protect the innocent;).
"Oh...okay!" (doing my best to hide my surprise, and at the same time feeling a sense of pride that Hud, at only 7, was already learning the importance of making a girl feel special and appreciated, but then on the flip side thinking that at only seven he was already picking up on the importance of making a girl feel special and appreciated.

I made a mental note to keep a close eye on this kid ;) 
and then asked him what it was about Susie* that made him want to make her his Valentine.

His darling answer?  
"Because she's my friend, and I like her glasses."

Darling. Little. Love. (the boy, not the valentine story)
Even though that's pretty cute too.
Needless to say, there is a little girl out there right now (maybe it's Susie, maybe someone else) who is going to grow up and fall in love with this boy some day, and she is going to be extremely blessed. :)
So you might be wondering what the take-away is today?
Well, here it is. One-on-one time with your children is important.  In fact, it's downright magical.  I know I focus on my relationship with my boys here, but that's because it's all I know.  If I had a girl I would do the same thing with her~ we'd be off getting pedicures, having lunch at a tea room, shopping, etc. But God chose me to be a mom to 3 boys, and so I've made it my mission to be the very best boy mom I can possibly be.

  There is something significantly different (obviously) about your relationship with your children that are the opposite sex. It's in my time spent talking to each of them, having fun with them without their dad or brothers around, that gives me a different look into the mysterious world of boys.  It's made me understand the other men in my world a lot better...namely, my hubs and my dad. And my hope, in all of this time and attention given, in all my questions to them about why they like this or that, what their favorite things are, what they want to be when they grow up, why burps and farts are so funny (I'll never understand that one), etc., is that each one of my 3 will know without a doubt that their mom is crazy-mad-nuts about them.  About every little bit of them. That as they grow, they will continue to rest in the fact that they can talk to me about anything they need to...that I'm a safe place.  You see, their Dad is their hero.  And he should be.  They beam with pride when they talk about their daddy.  As they get older I've begun to see their longing to go do everything their dad does.  They fish with him, play baseball with him, go hunting, wrestle and play Nerf tag, watch sports and Wipeout (geez)....and generally anything and everything he does is the most amazing thing ever. As it should be...I love how they look up to him.  But you can understand my fear that with every year they grow that I lose a little bit more of them. Maybe fear isn't the best word....I know full well how much those boys love me, and I know that's not going to change.  But in the meantime, we'll continue to have our special dates, and I'm going to do my best to make sure they know I'm here, that I can handle anything they need to talk about...and that some day (like 20 years from now at when they each meet "that" girl, fall in love, and get married, that I will happily gain a daughter, who will know how incredibly loved and treasured she is too.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Life in the Moment

My thoughts have been scattered lately.
I'm not even sure I can accurately describe what kind of scattered exactly, but it's ranged everywhere from longing to get away to the beach, soak up the sun, and enjoy an endless amount of diet cokes complete with umbrellas in them, to farm living (yes, again....that one's come up way too much~ it's now officially on my bucket list), to moving toward a more simplified way of living (more on that to come), to the fact that our black lab has shed enough hair lately to make one million little black labs, requiring lots of time spent vacuuming for me.  I don't think she's handling the adjustment to our new puppy, Sue Mexico, (yes, that really is her name) as well as we hoped she would.  But considering Addy was a little neurotic before Sue Mex joined our family, it very well may have nothing to do with her at all.

Yes, I'm a little scattered.
And not just with the mundane daily things, or the dreams of beachy vacations...even though it didn't help at all when today I noticed this photo as it flashed across the slide show on our computer:
My baby at 17 months.
Not only is this photo ridiculously yummy, (I know, I'm a biased mom, but those curls? STOP IT.)
but it also relates to the post...I think. ;) 

Life in the Moment.

There's this collection of signs hanging in our kitchen that together read, "Live your life in the moment."
Honestly, before I bought it, when I would hear this phrase, it seemed like a bad thing. I mean, if you're just living in the moment, won't you do a bunch of stupid stuff? Something dangerous?  Crazy? 
I'm typically more practical than spontaneous, so it's understandable that I would go there. But when I saw the sign that I quickly bought, that now hangs in our kitchen, something snapped in my head.  It didn't hurt. ;) I started to think about my family of 5, my friends, and our extended family, and realized how very much I wanted to live in the moment with them.  You see, this photo of Hunter was taken the same month that my grandmother passed away.  She was very much a live-in-the-moment kind of of the many things I loved about her. I'd love nothing more than to have had more time with her~ she was a total blast. And while I can't bring her back, (but oh, much I wish I could) I can most definitely instill her fun, spontaneous ways into my life. 
A very cool legacy I'm sure she'd be proud of.

We've already established that life with kids is crazy.  And busy.  And unpredictable.
While I long for this blog to be a place where moms can come together, celebrate their great mom moments, and regroup from their not-so-great mom moments, laugh at/with each other...I don't want it to be a place to celebrate mediocrity.  We were made for way more than that.

Let's face it: we're all going to have bad mom moments.  That doesn't make us bad moms.

Some days, living in the moment is merely celebrating the fact that we were able to get the kids to school on time...even if we did so in our pajamas. In fact, I celebrated that very thing yesterday, extra thankful to God for no flat tires or traffic stops.  That would have been awkward. ;) I am so not a morning person...and I've accepted the probability that I might never be, so being on time to school (or anywhere else, for that matter) is kind of a big deal. There are going to be days when we're tired, the kids have gone nuts, we've reached a new level of crazy, and we're counting the minutes until bedtime.
That's normal....but my hope is that it can be the exception, and not the rule.

My hope is that the norm will look more like this:
fort-building in the playroom, or family room, or bedroom, etc.
spur-of-the-moment frozen yogurt runs
sidewalk chalk art on the driveway
cold, rainy Saturday mornings crammed into snuggled in bed together
family movie nights
camping in the backyard
roasting marshmallows in the fireplace
neighborhood baseball games (or football, basketball, whatever)
picnics at the park
hide and seek
lunchbox love notes

I want to be heard saying, "YES! Let's do it!" way more than I'm heard saying "In a minute."
When my kids want to bake, or play a game, or go to the park, or play catch, I want to be able to drop what I'm doing and go for it more often than I do.  NOT to overindulge their every whim...that's not what I'm talking about.  And NOT to make them think my world completely revolves around them...that's not healthy for any of us.  What I'm suggesting is that we realize how very fleeting this life is, how very quickly these little people that live in our house will become big people who leave to start careers and families of their own....and make sure we don't miss any of it. 

I don't want to sound unrealistic here.
I'm not suggesting that you cram your day full of one activity after another.
That's exhausting.
But if you're like me, your default response to requests is "Not now" or "Maybe later."
That needs to stop.
 There's a lot of pressure we put on ourselves when it comes to raising kids.
Finding the balance between exposing them to all the things they need to see and do as they grow, while still leaving time for them to explore and play on their own.
You can spend 5 minutes on Facebook, reading up on what everyone else is doing this weekend, people heading out to this concert, that movie, this game, that event, this vacation, etc, etc, etc, and quickly feel like a loser parent who isn't providing enough "stuff" for your kids.
Stop that.

When I think about my childhood, do you know what my favorite memories are?
There's one that involves my mom, Reagan, and I searching for these tiny frogs that were living in our backyard when we lived in Tulsa. I think I was 5.  There is another one of my dad taking me to the toy store, not to buy something, but to let me ride the bikes up and down the aisles.  We did that a lot. The employees there loved us. ;) There's the little outfits my mom sewed for my Barbies, and the countless hours my dad spent throwing pop flies and grounders to me in the yard so I'd be ready for the next softball season. There's the summers spent in my grandparents' backyard, collecting fireflies.
Were these over-the-top things?  Nope.  But they are without a doubt the memories I treasure the most.

Big, special things have a place in our childhood.  Memories can definitely be made there, and it's good to provide those kind of experiences for your kids every once in awhile.
But I'm willing to bet that if you ask your kids, years from now, what their favorite childhood memories are, their answers will include the smaller things that didn't seem like such a big deal at the time.
If you need proof, read this.  Last summer we took the boys to Disney World.  We had an amazing time, rode lots of rides, saw lots of things, had breakfast with Mickey and the gang, bought souvenirs,  took lots of was epic.  For 6 days we carpe diemed the heck out of that place. 
On the way home we asked the boys what their favorite part of the trip was. 
Do you know what their unanimous answer was?  The pool at the hotel.
I wish I could say I was joking, but I can't.
This summer we're booking the Holiday Inn down the street. ;)
(disclaimer: Disney World rocked.  The boys have brought up our trip several times since last summer, saying they hope we get to go again someday.  Maybe we will, but I'm not positive.  There are so many things we want to do with them, and for us and our budget, that might have been more of a "once in a lifetime" family memory for us.  And it was an amazing one, so no regrets there).

This isn't hard....we don't need to make it hard.  Just take time to slow down and live in the moment, one day at a time. Remember that these little moments really do matter. That you're creating memories that your kids are going to carry with them forever.   And that it's the small, seemingly-insignificant, every day kind of things to add up to a lifetime of happy. :)