Monday, April 30, 2007


I spent the weekend pulling weeds in the yard. (I also got scolded repeatedly by my husband for doing so, as in his opinion, I should have had my spring cold in bed, resting.) It was just so nice outside and after the huge case of cabin fever I developed over this crazy winter, I just needed to be out there.

We always laugh when I start my whole pulling weeds routine because I am so anal that it is the beginning of an obsession for me. It's kind of like me and puzzles...I'm the same way with those. Chris had a 1,000 piece puzzle when he lived about an hour away from me. It was over the summer and I was on break from my job at school and I was a huge freak about that stupid space shuttle puzzle. I would spend the entire day on it because if I didn't, it was like it had eyes and was staring at me, taunting me. When I decide to start pulling weeds in the yard, it's the same sort of thing.

So, Saturday was the day that I decided it was game on with me and the weeds. I strapped on my oh, so attractive gardening gloves, got my ripped/stained towel for my knees, and finally located my official weed digging tool in the shed. I chose a spot and began my little war with the weeds.

It's funny -- when I was growing up, my absolute LEAST favorite chore of all time was easily pulling weeds. I would rather have dusted the entire house than spent 20 minutes pulling weeds, and that's saying something. (I can't stand dusting. Still.) My mom would probably have paid some good money to have had teenager Tara have even an 1/8th of my adult enthusiasm for pulling weeds.

I think was out there for at least 2 or 3 hours both Saturday and Sunday, as evidenced by my red back. Comments on my sunburn beat out a simple "hello" at preschool dropoff this morning, by the way. Always fun.

As I pulled weeds, I was struck by how incredibly LONG and complicated the roots were on some of those puppies! (I'm talking up to two feet long!) I think they come back stronger each subsequent year because I don't remember them being like this last year. I really should have taken a picture or video of pulling some of them because it was quite fascinating, really. (Please note, I'm not a gardener, weed pulling is the extent of my skills, so I have no idea what type of weed it is that I'm talking about.)

The more I thought about the weeds I was pulling, the more I thought about how the whole process of getting them out of the ground reminded me of life. My life, at least.

The weeds with the longest, craziest roots were usually those that looked the smallest. I'd gently pull the top of the little weed and if I could get to the longer root underneath, I found that it was usually attached to several other little weeds, but they were spread out and there is no way in the world I'd guess that the two were linked to the same roots.

Isn't that how it seems with life? The tiniest problems (to everyone else's eyes) are usually those with the most complications attached to them?

I was also struck by just how gentle I had to be with these little weeds in order to keep the huge root underneath intact. The easy thing would have been to just yank it out, severing the visible part of the weed from the root. The problem there is that then the root would be left in the ground, free to sprout many more weeds to pop back up again once the root was ignored. In order to get the entire weed -- roots and all -- I had to work delicately and make sure that I paid attention to both of the directions that the root was headed in.

As I did that -- I couldn't help but think of how closely this whole process mirrored the way that I have to go about solving problems in my life. The easy thing is usually to treat problems like you are just ripping off a band aid -- just go for it. But when I do that, things usually end up coming back time and time again. It's only when I take the time to really examine things, figure out not only where the problem is going, but where it came from and what else is now attached to it that I'm able to successfully remove issues from my life.

I know, I know -- going deep. But you know, I spent a good 5 hours (at least) thinking about all of this stuff while I was baking in the sun. I might as well blog about it, right?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Not exactly...

My son loves all things Christmas, so I indulge him a bit and let him keep a few things out all through the year. He has a cd of Christmas music that he listens to during quiet time in his room on some days, one of his favorite bedtime books to read is The Stable Where Jesus Was Born (an adorable book with gorgeous illustrations, by the way), and there is a little nativity magnet set on the fridge that he plays with.

Well, today as his sister was finishing her lunch, he asked me if I wanted him to tell us the story of The Stable Where Jesus Was Born using the magnet set on the fridge. As my heart swelled with pride at the thought that such a precious story is tucked away inside of his heart, I replied that of course Georgia and I would be happy to listen.

It started off good -- Baby Jesus was laying in the sweet smelling hay with Joseph So Tall and Mary By Name looking after him. The sheep came and the shepherds came. It was so adorable to listen to his sweet voice telling such a big story in such a simple way.

"Guess what happened next, Mommy!"

Just the tone in his voice rang the "Uh-oh" alarm in my head, and I knew that we were about to seriously deviate from the original path of the story.

"I don't know, honey. What happened next?"

From behind his back, Mitchell pulls out the playdough garlic press. (My own term there.)

"The CROCODILE came! And he ate Baby Jesus up in one big bite!"

Um, yeah. That just ain't right.

Photo Friday...

Before and After is this week's Crazy Hip Blog Mama's theme. I immediately thought of how much my son loved his baby sister, before he could really even get his hands on her for big hugs and kisses. The biggest joy in every day for me is watching the two of them together. They are so funny together and the love they have for each other is something that many, many people comment on. So, here ya go -- the best "Before and After" I can think of.

Before...(February 2006)
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And After...(February 2007)
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Monday, April 23, 2007

I've decided that I'm nuts.

So, we've decided that we are finally going to put our house on the market. I say "finally" because we've been talking about it for at least two years now. When we originally bought it, we said we'd be here for 5 years, max. Well, that was 5 years and 4 months ago. The thing is, I don't think that we planned on having children quite so quickly. (I got pregnant 3 weeks after we got married...we call him our planned surprise.)

As I take a break from doing what I like to call "house stuff" (yes, that's a scientific term, feel free to adopt it yourself), I am struck by just how emotional of a process this move will be. That will be different from the other dozen times I've moved in my life -- this is the first time I'll be leaving the only place my children have ever called home.

We have a great house. Is it huge? No. Is it extravagant? No. You know what it is? It is THE perfect first house and THE perfect place to bring babies home to. It's not huge, but it's big enough. The neighbors' houses aren't so close that I can open the window, reach out and borrow an egg, like some of the newer neighborhoods are. We have an honest to goodness YARD, people. With a deck. And a shed. And a sandbox.

Here's the bottom line...I'm beginning to love my house again, as much as I'm ready to move, I'm realizing how attached to it I really am. We've definitely outgrown our space here, and we are ready to move to a more centrally located neighborhood, but I will without a doubt miss our house.

What really makes me mad is the fact that someone else is going to walk through it and look for "what's wrong". What they like, what they don't like, what they want to change, what they want to keep. It almost feels like I'm putting my child out in front of someone to be criticized without regard for what really matters. I hope that someone else walks in and just instantly can see themselves living here...that's what happened for me. I walked in and just knew that this was the house for us.

When we were looking for houses, our realtor encouraged us to give each house we looked at a nickname so we could easily remember and distinguish them when talking about what we'd seen later on. It really did work -- five years later I can still remember the dirty house (uh, yeah...'nuff said on that one), the hunting house, the hot tub house, and the squeaky floors house. Makes me wonder what our house would be called. (My money is on "the rubber duckie house" because of the kids' bathroom. By the way, we refuse to change it -- love our house, love the ducks. If it gets changed, I don't want to know about it.)

I need to get back upstairs and finish packing some stuff up...I just had to take a break, come down here and say that I love my tiny, perfect little house. Flaws and all -- it's still perfect to me. I can't imagine starting our family's life together anywhere else and if I'm crying while I type this, I imagine that as ready as I am to move us into the next "perfect house" for us, I'll be bawling as we drive away for the last time.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Kinda scary when your 4 year old is smarter than you...

Last weekend, we were getting ready to go celebrate Easter at my brother-in-law's house and Mitchell wanted to go play with his toys from his Easter basket. My husband told him he needed to finish his breakfast first, and then he could go play. He said "okay" and sat down to finish his waffle. A few minutes later, he asked me "Mommy, would you like some waffle?" I politely declined, so he moved onto my husband. (He's into giving us bites of his food, so this is nothing new.) My husband actually accepted his waffle offer, and Mitchell stood by with a big smile on his face watching his Daddy eat. When my hubby had finished chewing, he said "Are you done, Daddy?" My husband nodded that he was and said "Thanks, buddy."

Mitchell then said "Great, then I'm done with my breakfast!" As we stood there laughing at ourselves, he happily ran into the living room to play with his new toys.

Seriously -- how did we not see that one coming?

Monday, April 09, 2007

All Moms Go To Heaven...

...and here's my Top 10 list of reasons why, based on my own little corner of the world!

10. We need some rest!

When else are we going to get it? The whole sleepless nights thing starts with us in pregnancy with the heartburn, aches/pains, kicking/rolling babies, frequent potty trips, and insomnia. It then moves on to the middle of the night feedings, diaper changings, walking the hallways, rocking/shushing. After that comes all of the potty training fun, sick in the middle of the night, nightmares, and scared of storms stuff. I'm guessing it doesn't end -- well, ever. I mean, the whole waiting up for teenagers to make curfew thing is in there. And now that I think about it, my own mom (as well as my mother-in-law) has volunteered herself for sleepovers with my kids and that means middle of the night wakeups, early mornings, etc.

9. We know how to count to 10!

As much as we'd like to, we *usually* don't join our kids in throwing ourselves on the floor to have a tantrum when things don't go our way. (Although if you're like me, this is often very tempting.) I'm not saying I don't lose my temper from time to time, but typically it's my job to remain calm, be the voice of reason, offer reasonable choices -- including natural consequences, and make deals when appropriate. Honestly, I think that police forces across the country should seriously think of hiring moms for the negotiator position...we have some serious experience in dealing with hysterical people who are out of control!

8. The laudry -- oh, the laundry!

On the off chance that my mom ever reads this, I'd like to apologize right now for the state of my bedroom for oh -- my entire 18 years at home. I had no idea how aggravating it could be to see clothes that had JUST been washed, dried and folded in heaps on the floor -- right in there with the yucky ones yet to make it to the laundry. I cringe just THINKING about that! If I don't do at *least* one (usually two) loads of laundry a day, it piles up like crazy, and I mean piles very literally. I have had a super busy week and laundry was not a part of that week. Today I am seriously digging out and know it will take me 3-4 days to catch back up. The laundry alone has some pretty powerful golden ticket power, if you ask me.

7. Cook, wash dishes, put away dishes, clean kitchen -- repeat.

This is the cycle in my house, at least. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between. If someone wanted to know what I spend the MOST time doing each week (besides laundry - DUH!), it would definitely be the kitchen thing. I need to add that since I am the very proud mommy of a 13 month old, you can guess that the 3+ daily high chair cleanups are also in there. That drop the food over the edge of the tray trick is in full force right now, which I think, just bolsters my "let me into heaven" case even further.

6. Played out!

I know I'm not alone on days where I would rather be at the dentist than pull out my stellar Sir Topp Em Hatt voice AGAIN. Or keep stacking up blocks so that little hands can keep knocking them down. Or play peek a boo...over and over and over and over. Or dig in the sandbox for hours. Or make ANOTHER playdough snake. Most days I really do enjoy it, but some days play is definitely work for me.

5. Poop. Lots of Poop.

This one is self-explanatory, isn't it? Well, maybe not. I mean, it's not just that it's poop. It's more like wrangling the poop. From mastering the ol' pin the legs and entertain the face diaper changing trick, to sitting and waiting and waiting and waiting for a potty training toddler to finish up, to the oh-so-fun stomach bug runs...poop is a big part of any mom's day. Might I add, dealing with any of the above while pregnant should be worth double points. (Are there points??)

4. The sickies.

I don't know many things that I would put ahead of sick kids on my list of things I really, really don't like. It's so hard to see them sick and miserable, and all of the energy, love, patience, and compassion that any mom expends on a daily basis is tripled when kids are sick. Feeling helpless to make them feel better (physically, feel better) stinks -- so it's like you do everything else you can to compensate. Backrubs, snuggles on the couch with favorite videos, special treats so that they'll eat and drink SOMETHING, extra hugs and kisses...all that stuff. You don't do it because you have to, you do it because you want to -- but at the end of the day, it leaves you even more tired. Worrying about your babies, battling over giving medicine, dealing with the extra crying/whining/clinging all takes a toll at the end of the day on us Mommies.

3. We are some fun people!!

Whether it's making a pillow/blanket fort in the living room, spending 4 hours decorating a train birthday cake, making up funny songs that are special for your kids, shopping online when you'd rather be on the couch just so you can keep an eye on your ebay bids for the PERFECT Christmas bargain, making chocolate chip cookies together, or making the perfect Bob the Builder costume out of the stuff you already have lying around the house...we try our best to find creative ways to make each day fun, even when there's no extra money around to spend.

2. We remember the important things!

I couldn't even begin to tell you how many times I've forgotten things for myself when we leave the house, but I can truly count on one hand how many times I've forgotten the big stuff for my kids. I might leave my cell phone on the counter, but the snacks make it into the bag. My own coat might still be hanging on the hook, but both kids have hats, coats and gloves to bundle up with when the cold air hits. When I went to Las Vegas with my husband in February, I was upset to find that I'd forgotten a dress, two shirts and a pair of pants while I was packing my own suitcase. Did the kids have all of the clothes and gear they needed for a few days with my parents? Absolutely. Taking one for the team is just part of the job when you're a mom.

1. Love.

Honestly, it feels kind of bizarre to write this list because it feels like complaining. Don't get me wrong, I could probably do a top 20 with no problem, but the thing is -- all of the things that I do as a mom I do with love. I think that even though I'm far from perfect and have many, many do-overs in my mind from various days on the job as a mom, I am proud of the fact that my kids won't hestitate to say that they are without a doubt LOVED by their Mommy, no matter what.

Read more about why all moms should go to heaven here:

And visit a really cute store devoted to the whole concept here: