Being a mom is the greatest accomplishment of my life. And I am SO proud of it. But somewhere along the way, I seem to have forgotten who I am and what my interests are. I am MORE THAN A MOM. I love being a mom, and a wife, but I need to have some room to just be ME - without any titles. I look forward to when I can go back to being an elementary school teacher, when my youngest starts full time school. I think in order for me to be the best MOM and the best WIFE I can be, I have to just be the best ME - whoever that is.
I am going to toot my own horn here for a bit. I am so proud of myself. Never in a million years did I think I would get excited about going to the grocery store to see how much money I was going to save. What has my life become that grocery shopping is my excitement?!
Last night after work I went to my local Kroger to get our week's worth of groceries. I had 50+ coupons, and the sale was AMAZING! I saved more than I spent, for the first time ever, and that's with having to buy items that weren't on sale and without coupons. My savings was $153.83!! TOOT TOOT!!
There are some things in life that no matter how hard I try, genetics is just going to win. I cannot fight the stubbornness or natural curiosity in my children any more than I can fight my son being a lefty or my daughter constantly having "toot toots". These things I knew. What I wasn't prepared for, however, was the similarities between how my children play together and how I played with my aunt, uncle, and siblings as a child.
When I was little, there was a time I remember when my brother was hysterical. (He still is). He had an infectious laugh and a heart and sensitivity bigger than a house. (He still does). But there is one signature move of his that my family and I will never forget. We used to pile up pillows and blankets, and my brother would climb onto the bed and belly dive right onto the heap of cushions, yelling mid-air, "Super Dookie!" And we would all crack up. I really don't know why I still find this so funny, maybe it's the same reason AZ laughs every time she goes "toot toot," but I giggle when I think of Super Dookie.
Now, if you know my son, you know that he's a couch destroying machine. The other day he piled some couch cushions together, climbed on up, and belly flopped right onto those pillows and cushions. In my head, I yelled, "Super Dookie!" and I couldn't help but smile. Do all boys go through a Super Dookie phase, or is it family genetics? Either way, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I will forever connect my son and my brother with Super Dookie.
I had a WONDERFUL Sunday. I already knew that I'd be getting up early, as JD and I had discussed the night before. So, I decided to make the most of it, and made a very large, almost Super-Southern sized, breakfast for my family. I made bacon, eggs, toast, sausage, and sausage gravy (for left over biscuits we already had). If there were cheese grits it would have been perfection. But it was a very nice breakfast, if I do say so myself.
JD had to skedaddle out after breakfast to go help some friends move. He is a much better person than I, that's for sure. Well, I got the rest of us ready for church after breakfast clean-up, and off we went.
I absolutely LOVE the fact that my girl just walks right into her Sunday school classroom. It made things a little easier on me, especially since my boy is her complete counter-part. I could hear him crying the entire time I walked down the hallway, until I turned the corner. There's a reason I always take the pager, though, in case he REALLY needs me while I'm in church. I know he pretty much gets held for a solid hour at church, but that's OK with me. He is a snuggly little guy.
After church, we came home to find my husband cutting the grass. What a nice surprise he was home - and NOT sitting in front of the computer when we walked in the door. Instead, we came in, finding he had vacuumed the entire house. And, he'd thrown in a load of laundry! What a great husband I have!
So, the kids had lunch and took a nap, well AZ had quiet time in her room, while we started watching the Bengals game. WHO DEY! 4-1 record and #1 in the division. It was a good game.
The big game was followed by even MORE fun - we went to Shaw Farms for the pumpkin patch and activities. The kids had so much fun! We walked around for over an hour, and it was the cutest thing. There were little scenes with pumpkin people, like the Wizard of Oz and Cinderella, loads of little houses and mazes the kids ran through, and all sorts of farm animals. What a blast! AZ was so happy she got to bring home a little pumpkin. And I was so happy we got to bring home take-out! Little Caesar's was delicious.
Through all of our running around and day of adventure, I learned something. My daughter is an awful lot like her mother. She's independent as she walks right on into her Sunday school class, she's stubborn since she won't take a nap (though I KNOW she doesn't have the sleep gene I have), and she's my little backseat driver - yes JD, I'll admit it. With every stop light, she lets us know if it's red or green, shouting "Red means stop!" or "Green means go." While turning right on red, she told her daddy, "Be careful, Daddy. Red means stop." She's turning into quite a little mini-me.
It sure would be nice if every Sunday could be as fun and exciting as yesterday was. I'd be willing to make huge breakfasts every weekend, including the grits, if family fun and adventure were a part of that package. What a FABULOUS Sunday with my husband, son, and mini-me!
I was very lucky to have my daughter first. Because, Lord help me if I would have had my son first. I may not have made it to kid number two had that happened.
My son is a handful. More like a thousand handfuls, to be precise. You think I am exaggerating, right? Well I can assure you that I am not. It recently seems that my son's sole purpose in life is to keep me on my toes and busy. He's a climbing, biting, couch destroying, cabinet door opening, computer turning off, death defying machine.
Some time around his one year birthday, he fell and hit the leg of a rocking chair, resulting in a trip to the ER and a stitch in his eyebrow.
When he was 14 months old, he opened the oven door one night after dinner was over and badly burnt both of his hands. He still has pretty bad scars from that, which are treated at least twice a day with an ointment. I've prepared myself for the fact that he may have to have surgery later to take the scar tissue off his palms.
At around a year and a half old, he climbed out of his crib. I walked into his room where he was supposed to be in his crib and his sister was supposed to be playing, and found him playing and her in his crib. How in the world did that happen!? So now he has a tent over the top of his crib - perfectly designed to cage the animal within. Except it has to be zipped entirely or he can open it and climb out.
And just last weekend, he fell down 5-6 wooden stairs - with not a bump or scratch to be found. I really think his guardian angels must work over time for him. He probably has more than one. I mean, I know how tiring he can be.
So on a daily basis, he destroys the couches, climbs on the dining room table, turns off the computer, tackles his sister, dumps food on the floor, and is my own real- life mini terrorist. And because I love him as any mother loves her child, he'll always be on my top most wanted list.
The last few nights in my home have been full of giggles and fun. No matter how the events of the days have unfolded, and the last few have been a royal lump of mess, at least the nights have been lovely. My daughter has discovered the art of playing hide-and-go-seek. It has turned into a really nice family-time activity after dinner and before the night time routine begins.
It usually starts with me hiding. AZ will count to ten, sometimes hitting the teens, which she jumbles into a ball of cuteness. And instead of "Ready or not, here I come," she says, "Twenty nine, here I come." It almost always makes me smile in my hiding spot.
When she finds me, after going room to room yelling, "Mommy, are you in here?" it's her turn to hide. She always turns to Daddy to help her. And no matter how good the hiding spot is, while I'm finding her, she comes out of her spot, or starts laughing. Last night, while finding her, I said, "AZ, stay in your hiding spot until Mommy finds you." She replied, "OK, Mommy," thus giving up her hiding spot.
And WC is getting in on the action, too. He helps AZ find me, and helps me find AZ. And he laughs just as much as the rest of us. I love these moments we're having as a family. And this time is quickly turning into my new favorite night time ritual.
So, I may be addicted to saving money. I don't even know how it all started. I mean, shortly after AZ was born, I started getting the Sunday paper for the coupon inserts. I fell out of habit of using the coupons, and we stopped the subscription. Now, I follow at least 2 different blogs about saving money and go to 3-4 different online coupon sites to get coupons. And occasionally, I'll get the Sunday paper if there are going to be good coupons in them. Now I go to the grocery store and save 20-30% of my bill. I saved $76 off my last grocery bill using coupons and matching up sale items. I buy sale items sometimes in bulk, and put my meats in marinade and freeze them. I have at least 10 frozen meals, consisting of pork, chicken, tilapia, salmon, chili, or stew, in my basement freezer. When did I start paying such close attention to grocery store fliers and cooking in bulk?
Well somehow this money-saving thinking has seeped into a permanent compartment of my brain. AZ needed some pants and long sleeved shirts for this season, as she's grown multiple inches since this time last year. But I hadn't even left the house yet when I decided I wasn't going to look at clothes that weren't on sale or clearance. We walked out of the mall with 3 pair of adjustable waist pants, 7-8 long sleeved shirts, a reversible down vest, 2 packs of undies, and Christmas outfits for both kids for about $80, spending almost half of that on the Christmas clothes. How did I turn into this person?
It just really makes me happy to save a few cents. It definitely adds up. Got any ideas on how I can save some cents when getting a minivan? :)
I love music. I mean, who doesn't, right? But I am definitely missing being in a choir and singing. I LOVE to sing, and I do it all the time. Does Ring Around the Rosies really count, though? I am by no means a singing superstar, but I really like it, and I'm slightly talented at it. (Thank you God and genetics!)
However, the new church I am attending, the church I am loving, has a praise band during my service. It does have a choir, but it's not something I see participating in, seeing how it's for the other services. I'd change services, but I really enjoy listening to my pastor, who only does the 11am contemporary service. So what do I do? I'm contemplating finding a choir in the city, but I'm such a chicken shit.
I should try to be BOLD and just put myself out there. I was in various choirs for 8 consecutive years. I've sung in two weddings, though I'd cringe if I had to hear it play back. I was in an elite group that got paid to perform. I even sang back up twice, in a bar, on open mike night, for a real singing superstar. (He has 4 CDs out and has been featured on So You Think You Can Dance, and the Real World. He even told me I was good.) So why shouldn't I try to be bold and find a choir? Why should I be scared? I mean, the worst case scenario is that I never try and wonder. Or do try and get turned down. Either way, I really should do something.
I mean, it's not like I'm wanting to make a career of it. Or be discovered. Or become rich and famous. It's just something I miss doing. Singing makes me happy, and I believe in my heart that I was given this talent, though a small one, for a reason. It's time for me to reclaim part of me. So, this is me, seizing the day.