Wednesday, April 28, 2010

To have, or not to have...that is the question

If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." -Woody Allen

I love being a Mom. I love being a Mom and step mom. I love it so much that thinking about my two favorite mini people can make me smile when things are going bad. I love it to the point I miss Cooper 5 seconds after I drop him off at school. If I don't get Jaylyn from school I catch myself wondering how her day went. These two kids are the center of my world and I plan my days around their schedules.

But I think 2 might be enough...maybe.

Before I go into it I know what people think (people being my husband). I know that sometimes the best planners get surprised with babies (I of all people know this). I know that God will give me more if that is what he plans. I know this...yet still I can't stop thinking, planning, and trying to decide.

I also know that people who don't know me or my family very well think that perhaps I shouldn't count my step daughter in the "how many kids I have" category (one rude person at my work said this to me recently and I was not amused). They would be very wrong. I realize she is only mine by marriage, but that doesn't mean I don't have unconditional love for her. It doesn't mean I don't worry about her. And I never mind doing "parent" things with her. In my mind, while I might be "just the step mom" (although evil I'm not), she is not "just my step daughter". So she counts as me having two kids...even better I didn't have to gain 20 pounds to have her in my life or change any diapers!

So right now I have in my life what I call manageable chaos. Meaning, with only two kids schedules to worry about, and only having one kid active in sports, John and I can manage everything without losing our minds. Throw another kid in the mix and it won't be so easy. It will be back to lots of naps, bottles, burping cloths, and so on. And we are soooo close to being done with we really want to sign back up?

There are many other factors weighing the decision that seems to make it easier to stop now and count our blessings that we have the two we have. There is the cost of another child, the fact that we would lose our spare bedroom that is a playroom right now, and more personal reasons.

But then there is John's cousin who is pregnant. It makes me want to cry every time I see her baby bump as I remember having my own child inside me. And then I see newborns all the time at work and want to stop everything, pick them up, and remember how good a newborn baby feels snuggled up to your shoulder. And smell the sweet baby smell. And I tear up some as I think that this is something I might never experience again...

Then I come home and some days my two-year-old is acting possessed and I tear up, thinking this is something I may experience again?!?

Isn't it every woman's right to be indecisive?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I Want To Get Away...

Last weekend John and I took a break from life and went on a long weekend (I actually got him to take a Friday off work!) to Tennessee. I wanted to stay in Chattanooga, but John wanted to stay in a more out of the way location so we picked Monteagle, TN and prepared for a "romantic" weekend.
Of course there was the guilt factor. I would have to be away from Cooper for 4 days/3 nights; even though it was Jaylyn's weekend to be at her mom's house we would still miss soccer games, and I would have to get someone to substitute for my class when we are already short numbered at work due to people on maternity leave. Still, we needed to get away and so we set off Thursday at 2:00 to try and remember what it's like to sleep-in (for the record I was awake before 7:00 every day), to get to eat at restaurants without a two-year-old crying, and to enter the world of housekeeping (my favorite part) and room service.

On Friday morning we set off for Lynchburg, TN so we could tour Jack Daniel's distillery and explore the town. As you can see, John and I got to take pictures with Jack:
The tour was so much fun and was both of our favorite thing we did the whole trip. The town of Lynchburg was not really our thing seeing as how we aren't big on antiquing or motorcycles, but I did love the ice cream parlor! We didn't buy any whiskey because Lynchburg is a dry town, but we did try whiskey ice cream.

Once we drove back to Monteagle we hit up the winery (where we purchased yummy blackberry wine that has now all been drank). Once we got done there we decided to go see Sewanee's natural bridge. This is when we discovered John is not the only one scared of heights. For the first time ever I was terrified. I think I was so scared because we were so high up with no railing or anything and I am so clumsy (example-I feel down the stairs at McWane center yesterday). It was beautiful though and worth risking my life for:
This is John on the bridge and me at the bottom taking the picture. He tried to get one of me like that, but there was no way I was going on the bridge without him holding my hand!

On Saturday we went to hit up the town of Chattanooga (big time Mommy guilt as we went to a town known for trains and my train loving two-year-old wasn't with us). We went to so many places this day. We started at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo so I could buy Cooper a new train and Jaylyn a t-shirt. Next we drove to Rock City. Rock City was such a neat place with LOTS of great views. We had a blast favorite was "Fat Man's Squeeze.

Don't worry everyone, we made it through!

Next up was lunch (at Guthries...we went all the way to Tennessee so we could eat at a restaurant we live 4 miles from in Birmingham). Then we headed to Ruby Falls. We walked in an underground cave for about a half mile, saw the falls, and then walked a mile back. Not the best idea I've had with me having claustrophobia, but it really was beautiful and romantic:-).
While in Chattanooga we also got to have a movie date (something you don't do very much when you have kids). And we went to an art show at Chattanooga's River Walk. It made me wish Birmingham had a River Walk, but I guess first we would need a river going through the city...

On Sunday we went to Monteagle's Flea Market and then decided to head home. When we got back to Birmingham, Cooper had a surprise for us! He had learned to pedal a bike!

We also found out Jaylyn had been picked as the MVP of her soccer game. So it turns out both our kids can actually make it without us in Birmingham...that means it's time to plan romantic weekend 2011!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Going Wireless...

So the other night John and I are laying in bed and John got on his IPhone (how did we live before we got them?). All the sudden I hear him laughing and he tells me to look at the different wireless connections available. So I do and that is when I saw that one of my neighbors has an interesting choice for what they named their wireless internet connection. As in it rhymed with peez cuts...use your imagination people.

It made me wonder in today's society just how much privacy do you have? As I drive down the road or am stopped in carpool if I get on my phone all wireless internet connections are shown to me immediatly (normally their owners aren't as "creative" as my neighbors). Granted you can't see whose wireless connection belongs to who but you can normally figure it out and it kind of seems like an envasion on my neighbor's privacy that we saw it.

On a funnier note you have to understand I live in a very suburban neighborhood and their are only little kids around us so an adult must have set that name. Strange but I guess to each his own...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Cycle of the Shot Glass

There are many things in life that take on new meaning the older I get. For example as a kid a purse was something I would stuff with junk and carry around trying to look older. As a teenager a purse held my make-up and later my license and car keys. As a college student I quit carrying a purse-it seems like no one did. After all my life revolved around class, running, and parties-no need for a purse. Now a purse is used for carrying kid toys, juice cups, wallet, membership cards, make-up, grocery lists, and whatever else I can cram in there.

I found the other day something else that had taken on new meaning the older I get-a shot glass. In my kitchen a whole shelf in the cabinet is used to hold shot glasses that my husband "collects". As in once or twice a year he remembers he collects them and buys one when we are out-of-town. I don't even think he's bought one in over a year, but still his collection takes up room in my cabinets.

The other day Cooper picked me my first "flowers" (aka weeds). The closest he had ever come to giving me something before this was last summer he gave me a sweet gum ball that he picked just for me and I still have. I was thrilled to get flowers from Cooper, but by the time he gave them to me they were a little crushed and the stems were so small. Of course he wanted them put in water immediately so I looked in our kitchen cabinets and decided only a shot glass would work.

As I put the flowers in the shot glass I realized here was another item that had taken on new meaning. In high school it was always a "cool" thing on youth trips to buy a shot glass. I'm not sure why but for some reason this was something that just made you feel a little bit older and reality I'm sure we looked like silly little kids. In college a shot glass was used for taking shots, playing drinking games (power hour anyone?), and when all cups were dirty could be used for small drinks of water. As I reached early adulthood and shots no longer appealed to me (honestly they never did and I am feeling nauseous thinking about it) shot glasses could be used to measure liquor to turn into mixed drinks.

Now here I am as an adult and Mommy who no longer has a use for shot glasses (except to use up precious cabinet space!) and all the sudden they are back in my life. For they are the perfect weed flower vase:-).

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mulch...even the word sounds awful!

Over the last two weeks I feel like I have gotten my life under control. I had weeds taking over my yard so I hired Trugreen. i had red wasps taking over my porch so I hired Terminix. And I had funky green stuff popping up in my shower (that I promise I do clean on a regular basis) so I bought an automatic shower cleaner (that I highly recommend). I felt very liberated and less stressed!

Then I looked at my yard...even with Trugreen I still had weeds all in my flower bed that needed pulling and a yard that needed mowing. I still can't control the bugs in the world no matter how much poison I begged Terminix to spray. And I still have to manually clean my shower once a week to really get rid of the mold. Apparently reassigning work to other people/things only goes so far!

So this weekend John and I set out to reclaim our yard. After purchasing a lawn mower and weed eater we were ready! John mowed the whole yard and ran the weed eater (luckily he views this as a "man job"). The good news is that under all those weeds, grass does still exisit! I went to work on the flower beds and FINALLY finished pulling all the weeds (this was my fourth day to work on them). The two of us went to bed feeling very accomplished.

That is until Monday afternoon when I drove up and was sad to see my weed free flower beds desperately needed new mulch. So I set off to buy some but it turns out the mulch was too heavy for me to get by myself (who knew?). Luckily my dad was able to take a hour off work on Tuesday to help me get mulch and drop it off at my house but that is where his assisstance ended. I was left opening all the bags and spreading it out. Yuck.

As I viewed the mulch I realized this is everything I hate about yard work rolled into one. The mulch was ridiculously heavy, it required me to get my knees all in the dirt next to bugs, and basically mulch is a brother to dirt and I was left having to touch it (gardening gloves only go so far). And did I mention it was mid-80s yesterday so in yard work terms it was freaking hot!

But I was determined so I got to work on my front flower beds. I'm not going to lie, at one point I did call my mom begging her to come help me but she turned me down so I went back to work...full of self-pity. I had decided that I was in my own personal hell until Jaylyn showed up.

Right away she looked at my flower beds and told me how beautiful they looked. Now granted Jaylyn is one of those few children with the gift to know the right and polite thing to say, but I could tell she was being sincere. Her telling me how beautiful the first half looked was enough to get me ready to tackle the second half.

She sat there and talked to me while I worked and before I knew it I was done (sweaty but done!). She was even impressed with my estimating mulch skills lol! I stepped back to view my flower beds and I swear I was as proud as when Jaylyn is the top scorer on her basketball team or when Cooper uses good manners. I think I even forgot that I don't like yard work when I saw how great the results can be. Who knows...maybe this summer I will actually successfully keep a plant alive a whole season. After all the apple can't fall that far from the tree...(or can it?).

One of the finished flower beds:-)

Saturday, April 3, 2010


"You have to wonder sometimes what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense ofachievement." -Steve Prefontaine

"GO MOMMY! BE CAREFUL!" -Cooper before my race this morning:-)

I'm pretty sure if you're reading this blog and know me then you know I'm a "runner" (I've blogged about it several times). I put runner in quotations because running and I have a long history of breaking up (because of stress fractures, pregnancy, baby, laziness) but we always seem to find each other again. My stepdaughter asked me recently how long I've been running and when I did the math I was amazed-I've now been running on and off for 14 years-surely I'm not that old yet!

So today was another day...another run for me. But instead of another day on the treadmill listening to Fergie belt it out I decided to enter the Run to the Cross 5K at a local church. I thought it would be the perfect road race because it coincided with the churches Easter Spring Fling so my son Cooper would have something to do while I was running.

I signed up for this race about 3 weeks ago and of course the next day my ankle starts giving me major in after one run one night I thought I was going to have to call John to carry me out of the gym I was in so much pain. So I backed off running and trained with an elliptical which left me feeling very nervous about this race. I began doubting myself and my ability to run this race.

My dad of course played right into my doubting myself and bet me that there was no way I could run under 23 minutes-this course is very hilly and I primarily train on a treadmill so I'm sure he was thinking between that and my elliptical only training he had this one in the bag. So the two of us bet on our favorite drink in the world- a half case of diet coke...and boy do I love diet coke!

So today I set out for this race determined to win diet coke from my dad and basically not embarrass myself. I was however still doubting myself and was about to line up on the starting line towards the back until John yelled at me from the sidelines to get to the front. Even he has gotten competitive with my running!

I ended up being the first female winner and running somewhere around 22:10 (my complaint on road races is no one tells you your time!). To say I was excited to win is an understatement! I wondered to myself why this win and this race was so important to me?

It was important to me for many reasons...mainly because over the past 5 years since running my last cross country season I haven't won anything (except maybe the winner of having the cutest little boy ever haha). Even that last cross country season, while I was the fastest on the team and never lost to a teammate, I never won first place at any of the races. At Mississippi State I definitely never won a race and I think I was one of the slowest girls on the team (little fish, big pond syndrome). Even my senior year in high school I was set to get 1st in the half mile in state only to be dealt a surprise runner who went under the radar and ended up beating me giving me 2nd place at my last race in high school. So to win now feels gggooooooddddd!

So there I was on my winner's high when all of the sudden a miniature version of myself comes running at me yelling, "Mommy!", and jumps into my arms hugging me and telling me good job...a word I had just taught him this morning. And then I remembered why this really feels so good-because now I get to share it with my son. Granted he has no idea if I win or lose, but he doesn't care; he just loves going to Mommy's race and cheering for me (and seeing his Grandparents).

What is about children that just make life so much more worth it? And how did I ever think I was really living until I had Cooper, Jaylyn, and John to share it with? I think though that I am finally learning what my mom has already learned-the lesson that kids make life more fun (minus the teenager years!). After all, she wouldn't let my dad leave today until she saw me get my 1st place award.