Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summa time

I don't even know if anyone still looks at this but here's a photo dump of our summer.
It's been a busy summer around these parts. Trying to entertain a 3 year old and not go bankrupt while doing it has been a fun little game we've played. I would love to do a museum, splash pad, lunch/play dates, movies, etc daily but those things add up quickly! We've been loving the weather and have been outside constantly. I am not one that will complain about the 100+ temps because I despise cold weather. Here, in Mississippi, we don't really get Spring and Fall mild seasons. It's either hot or a little cold. Luckily, I like the hot. Here's E taking baby sis on a stroll. He had just put her visor down on her stroller so that "she didn't have Jesus right in her eyes." Here's the thing, one day E asked me what the sun was doing. See my aforementioned blog post about a case study of 3 year olds and their questions. How do you even answer questions like, "Mom, what's the sun doing right now and why can't it be darker?" Without really considering it, I replied, "That's Jesus smiling at you, E. That way you know he loves you." Weeeelllllll, I don't recommend that particular answer. Now, every time the sun shines in his eyes, he starts yelling, "Stop hurting my eyes, Jesus. I don't want you to love me so much." Errrr. Whoops.
 Here's a freeby--The Renaissance Splash Pad. We love it for their age though it doesn't keep them entertained long. You can time it right round Barnes & Noble story time and a lunch date and, suddenly, it's nap time! Go, Mom!
 We call this little one our "Lynx--a souped up wild cat". She is in beast mode 24/7. She's a feisty girl that loves snuggles but doesn't want people (other than Momma) up in her hula hoop. Ask E. You get in her face, you will get poked in the eye/nose/ear. It's amazing how quickly that little finger can reach up in your nose. I swear she can pull out brain in 2.4 seconds flat. And, yes, she's started walking. So strange to me since E was almost 15 months when he started. She started soon after she turned 11 months. How weird, albeit convenient, to walk prior to having teeth? Anyone else's kid done that? I figure, at least she has nothing to bust out when she falls. Also, we're still breastfeeding over here so high five to the nursing Gods on the no teeth situation!
 Zoo trip with neighbs.
 A rare pic with my kids and I'm nasty and in work out clothes. Whatev. I'm nothing if not real.
 He finally dared the slide and then I couldn't drag him off.
 She's not sure what to think.
 First black eye but still all smiles. I'm telling you beast mode 24/7.
 My boy has finally started running with me. I've been itching to get him to be my running buddy but 3 seemed a bit young. Months ago, I tried to see how far he could run one afternoon because he always begs out of his stroller when I'm running and pushing them. I thought, "Fine. What harm can it do?" "Alright, E. Get out and run." He ran about 10 feet, then stopped and wanted back in. Seriously? I refused, thinking I'd teach him. "Nope, you have to keep running or walking. You want to be a big boy then act like it." "Mommy, I don't feel very good." We went back and forth like this and finally, after about 100 yards, I let him back in. An hour later, his fever spiked to 103 and was diagnosed with the flu. Whoops. However, 3 1/2 is a different age all together. He can run about a mile now and does it with vigor. He's my fave running buddy. You know, now that he doesn't have the flu and all.
We've "gardened" a lot this summer or at least gotten a lot of things watered.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Becoming a Mother

Saints game

Before I was a Mother, Hom and I used to do lots of fun things. We were always on the go. I'd wanted to be a Mother for as long as I knew what a Mommy was. I dreamt of having 4 boys, spread out every 2 year. Wha??? I also assumed I'd get married at 22 and start having kids at 24. Then, I grew up and got a little sense. When I met my favorite man at 22, I was nowhere near wanting to walk down an aisle. Four years passed and it finally felt right. In November 2005, I sprinted down that aisle and we made The Home Team official. Four years of marriage was filled with "adult activities", galas, training for and running in races, lots of football games and tailgating. I never felt like anything was missing. I knew one day, in the future, we would bother with doing the "kid thing." Four more years passed in the blink of an eye... 

Saints MNF

After my first half marathon
Ole Miss/LSU tailgating
Hom's work gala in New York
 Then this happened. I ate wayyyy too much food. And look at those tatas! Go, Girl. No, that's not plastic surgery and burritos. That would be what made us a family of three, my boy. This was mere hours before we met our son. My water had broken. Much to Hom's chagrin, I insisted on taking a shower, straightening my hair, and finishing packing my bag. I wasn't going to be "that" girl in OB receiving that, not only had a constant trickle of not-pee leaking out, but also stunk and had nappy hair.
Then, much to my chagrin, it became nappy anyway. I'm giving my little round face a break though because this was around 4 o'clock in the morning after being in labor (sans epidural for 6 hours.) 
The anticipation was palpable as Hom and I were about to realize our dreams of becoming parents. This story would be so great if I could say, "In the blink of an eye, and 2 pushes later, parents we became." However, E made me work for it and instead I'll say, "In 27,893 blinks of my eye and 3.5 hours of pushing later, parents we became." I will never forget the moment I looked down at our squirmy, gooey newborn, placed gently in my arms. Hom, with (never witnessed by me prior) TEARS in his eyes and stating, "We have a baby." It was surreal. Then we reveled in watching OUR Moms witness a new beginning, both of their first biological grandchild.

Wait. Who put us in charge of someone else's life? The amount of immediate love for this 7 pound child is indescribable. Suddenly, my thoughts were consumed with nurturing and protecting this person, without regard for myself. I imagined I'd miss the galas, football games, races, etc. He was totally dependent on ME. I was finally a mother, at the exact time God had planned. I experienced, I lived, I traveled, I loved, I lost, and then I gained. I gained far more than I could have ever imagined. E was an easy newborn. I kept thinking, "This isn't so hard." Now, looking back, I realize that was all part of the partial dementia God gives new parents. I think it's part of that sleep deprived brain thing. It was hard but I was prepared for exhaustion and frustration, not "Oh, I haven't slept more than 3 hours straight in 3 months and my boobs have been flopped out for the last hour but look at those delicious toes so whatev!"

Three more years passed, and this happened. A daughter. With her, I can certainly say, "In the blink of an eye and 3 pushes later, we were parents....again." She came out quickly, kicking and screaming, making Hom and I the parents of two people. Overwhelmed doesn't describe it.

What happened to us, the adventurous Home Team? Well, we became parents. And this time in our lives isn't filled with fun adult activities. It's filled with poopy "ackident" pants, breastfeeding, mashed sweet potatoes in my hair, rambunctious 3 year-old raising, and constant worry that we're going to do something that will adversely affect these two people's future. If you told me about this ten years ago, I would have totally freaked out, liquidated my meager savings, and run off to Tahiti or, if savings determined it, maybe more like Destin. Now, it is a life that I wouldn't trade for anything. These people destroyed my social life. They made me into a person that watches only televised football, never live. We determine our "night's on the town" based on the noise level at a restaurant (as in, "Well, it's loud enough that nobody should notice a crying baby.") They also whisper nightly, "I love you, Mommy. Now, snuggle time." They smile, they coo happily, they giggle with tickles, they crawl, they run wild, they concentrate with their tongues wagging out. This is my legacy. This is the combination of Homet and I and everything we have taught them and allowed them to experience. I could have never imagined the depth of what being a Mother entailed. This Mother's Day, material gifts are pointless. My gift is given to me everyday in the mundane. I hope to always appreciate the health and love of these two people that have made me a Mother.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter candy

C just found out she was too young for Cadbury Eggs. It just breaks my heart that I'm going to have to eat all the ones the Easter bunny brings...
Not funny, Mom. Not funny at all.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lent....almost there.

Every year I give up something for Lent. Some years are far harder than others. Sophomore year in high school, for instance, I "gave up guys". Believe it or not, this brace-faced, sports-obsessed, terribly bobbed haired girl had no trouble that year. I thought I was so clever. I had an excuse to not have a date. "Um, of course I will not go out with him if he asks. I gave up guys for LENT.  HELLLL-O!" Then there was that second year in nursing school. I gave up all caffeine, including chocolate. Hard enough, right? Well, I hadn't thought ahead to realize I was about to have my first taste of night shift in the form of clinicals in my future PICU home. I remember looking out the window at 2:30 or so in the morning. That's when I always hit the proverbial night shift wall. I thought, "I don't think I have ever been stone sober at 2:30 in the morning. Where is my Coke and Snickers to get me through?" I was 23 after all, life was generally about eating bad and drinking often. Well, this year, I tried something different. Since I found out I was having a girl, I've gone a bit overboard on the whole clothes thing. I think it's because, with E, I was so used to gazing longingly at the millions of girls clothes options and always walking out of the store with a sulk and 3 boring striped Polos. "It is finally my turn to walk over to that girl's section!" I remember thinking. Well, a year later and C's closet is full to overflowing and E still has his lonely Polos. Thus, I actually gave up buying kid's clothes for Lent. Yep and I've surprised even myself. I had to delete all my Facebook "Auctions" and stop looking at Zulily altogether. On Ash Wednesday, while putting E in his tennis shoes, he looked up and said, "Mom, I think my shoes are too tight." I actually looked at him and said, "Sorry, Bud, they'll have to do for 39 days. I advise you to stop growing for a bit." Mom of the Year nomination? Anyone? Anyone? Anyway, I have almost made it through the 40 days with no purchases! Fear not. He has appropriately sized boots. The second thing I "gave up" was a little different. I wanted to physically push myself just a tad. I was getting in a run-same-2-mile-loop-while-hubs-showers-from-7-7:30 rut. A total rut. I would run my 2.1 miles and not even remember doing it. Not that I've ever exactly enjoyed running but I knew if I didn't get out of my rut, I would start to think of reasons not to roll out of bed in the morning. Oh, like C has decided in past weeks that she'd prefer to be nursed again around 2:30, but that's another blog post in itself. Anyway, I decided to make a goal of 15 miles/ week. I work 2 days/week so, on average, I need to run 3 miles/day if I don't want to run after a 12 13.5 hour work day. Well, unless I run my 3 before Hom leaves, I'm stuck with this...
 Yep. That's 30 pounds of stroller and 45 pounds of kid. Let me tell you, hills are no joke with almost 80 extra pounds. I have finally maxed out on running slogging with these two 3.1 miles. That was a doozey and I felt like I'd just run a marathon. Talk about disappointment when I looked down at my little runtastic app and it said, "3.1". Womp. Womp.
Some good has come of this though, I mean check out this bit of awesomeness. We've done two 5K's during Lent. In the first one, I got first overall in my age and in this Color Me Rad, I was first girl overall. There wasn't actually a timer or "places" as it was a total non-competetive race but, in my heart, I knew I was first (and I have NEVER been first.) We were in the first wave and got up at the front so we could see the folks in front of us, none of which were girls. Holla! That being said, it was an awesome, laid back race. In addition, I got to spend about 4 hours with my BFF there while the kiddos got spoiled by grandmas. Win-win for the Home Team.  Now that Easter is almost here, I've come to a few conclusions...I cannot wait to buy some clothes and I cannot wait to sleep in and just walk every now and then.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The picture, the decisions, the aftermath

This picture was taken exactly 34 years ago, on my birthday. The picture and the emotions captured in it, would shape my life and influence my decisions forever. See those tired, relieved eyes? See that messy hair? See those sweet dimples? Those arms wrapped easily around her new bundle? That is the look of relief and indescribable pride in her feat. That is a woman in beast mode. My Mom decided for me, baby #3, she wanted to truly “experience labor.” She had had an epidural on one of my siblings and didn’t like the way it made her feel. She didn’t feel she was truly able to embrace all the emotions involved. She had just had me naturally, no drugs, just a little sweat and tears and a whole lot of determination and “umph.” And how about this stat? I was 9 pounds, 8 ounces and 21 inches of “umph.” Yeah, beast mode. She would relive this story to me as soon as I was old enough to know about having babies. She would relive it and describe it being exactly what she wanted. She claims she had always wanted three, had always wanted me to be a girl (though she hadn’t found out before my birth), and had gone into this pregnancy wanting only a natural birth. As a child, I thought the story was akin to a fairy tale. I was so wanted. I was so thought out. I was so loved.

            When I got pregnant with my first, I never really considered an epidural. I also never considered finding out the gender. I was driven solely by my Mom’s experience with me. “If Mom can push out a 9 ½ pounder with no drugs, surely a 7-ish pounder will be easy.” While “easy” isn’t how I’d describe my son’s, or later my daughter’s, natural births, they certainly matched up with the fairy tale description. I tried to embrace every detail. If you know me at all, you have no fear that every detail and memory was captured by camera, any memorabilia given, and, of course, my words. They have scrap booked memories detailing everything from what my “last meal” included to the feeling I had as soon as I saw they’re bloody, writhing, little bodies for the first time. A natural birth is not something most choose, but it was the best decision for me. I would not change one detail about either of my children’s births.

            My Mom breastfed me. She breastfed me with fervor and determination. She breastfed me for months upon months, with none of the modern day conveniences. She had no pump, no boppy pillow, and a husband that traveled many weeks at a time. And have I mentioned that I was her third? She did that and recounted that to me when I was a child, as she headed off to La Leche meetings. She embraced breastfeeding when it was so not cool to breastfeed. She would spout off the benefits, matter-of-factly, to me, the ever inquisitive child. She never pushed any of her beliefs on me, she just provided me with information. I feel certain she never realized the impact she was making on me.

            I breastfed my son his entire first year of life. I am 7 months into making it a year with my daughter. Neither has had a sip of formula. It’s not something everyone chooses and I often feel like a freak with this decision. It is not the common thing in the South. I can’t figure out why other than, well, it’s just not the common thing. I hate that it makes me feel insecure and defensive when people ask me why I opted to breastfeed. I will not stop though, almost solely because of the support I continue to receive from my husband and my Mom. See how she’s sneaking back in again? She showers me with praise in regards to all of my decisions. “You are making the right decision for them,” she repeats. 
            I often whisper to my children, “You have no idea how much love I have for you.” When E tells me he loves me, I usually reply, “And I love you so much more.” Then, I think, "That’s how much my Mom loves me." After all these years, she wants nothing more than to be in my company. She is my best friend and my hero. On this birthday, I realize that this picture is that of pure love and dedication. So when you ask me why I didn't have an epidural or why I breastfeed for a year, just refer to this picture. While not popular decisions, both are internal accomplishments that I dreamt my entire life about achieving. I did it. I had natural births and was successful at breastfeeding. I realize this matters to no one else but me. However, to me, they were 30-some-odd years of thought and determination. When C is a year, I will likely stop breastfeeding. I will have made it. I have almost crossed the finish line in my "mothering marathon" and it feels damn good.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A not so typical love story...but it's ours.

My Valentine.

My husband and I met in a bar. Yep, a bar. We’ve agreed to tell our children it was a restaurant because I’m pretty sure they sold hamburgers or something after 10 pm. It was late August 2001. I had just broken up with a long-term boyfriend after having been cheated on. To say I was “anti-men” at the time would be a gross understatement. I was about to kick off my second, and final, year of nursing school and had just moved into my sister’s new house with her. It was to be a year of bachelorette pad living, studying, and partying with my friends. Lots of pizza would be consumed, drinks would flow, and I feel certain that on more than one occasion, my make-up didn’t get washed off before I went to bed.
            My sister and I had gone out with friends to eat Mexican and she and I decided to go out afterwards (read: best decision of my life, to date.) Anyway, we walked in this club and were immediately met by a fat, sweaty (picture late August in Mississippi), fraternity looking guy. He stopped me and shouted above the music, “Hey! Didn’t you go to Jackson Prep with me?!” All I could think was, “What kind of pick up line is that?” First off, Prep does not have big graduating classes. I graduated from Warren Central with upwards of 270 and I dare say I could point out each one of those. However, suddenly he doesn’t remember one of about 50? Anyway, I figured, “What the hell?” and humored him. “Heck yeah! Class of ’97 rocks!” and kept walking. Lindsay and I had to use the restroom so we scooted by the memory challenged sweat ball (note: lest you worry, this is not going to turn out to be my husband.) We walked in the bathroom and giggled about the immaturity of some men. I mean, “High school? Really? That was like forever ago”….(read: 4 years seemed like forever at the time.) We walked out to find the memory challenged sweaty beast standing there waiting for us. Whoops. We walked past like we didn’t notice him and headed to the bar for a beer. He followed. I had a stroke of genius stupidity and stated firmly, “Look, we’re lesbians. Not interested.” “SWEET!” he returned. Do not feed the animals, Sara. That just made it so much worse. Suddenly, I kid you not, I start feeling something wet on my back. Remember those “back-less shirts” that were all the rage in the early 2000’s? It had a few ties, but that was it? Yeah, I was skanking it up but that’s what I was wearing and that's not the point. Focus. I looked over at my sister with eyes as big as quarters and stated those 5 words that would be repeated and laughed at every single time we remember this night, “IS HE LICKING MY BACK????” Ever so cool, my sis leaned back, took one glance and  stated, “Yep.” Oh. shit. How do I get out of this one with my Southern grace intact??? I mean as much Southern grace as one can have while wearing a backless shirt, drinking a beer in a bar. Suddenly, a spot cleared to my left and up to the bar walked a cute knight in shining armor fella. I looked over desperately and noticed the most beautiful blue eyes I had ever seen. And, ya’ll, I’m not even an “eyes girl.” It’s not typically something I notice first. However, those baby blues were precious and I guess I had enough liquid courage to sputter, “Umm, see this fella licking my back behind me? Yeah. I don’t know him. Would you just pretend to be my boyfriend real quick?” “Sure,” he laughed easily. I spun around and stated firmly, “Excuse me, but I’d like you to meet my boyfriend……” (whispered, “Say your name!”) “Hey, man, my name’s Wade and I really don’t appreciate you doing that to my girlfriend.” He actually bought it and, apparently, had enough libations to forget that 5 minutes before this, I was a lesbian. He quickly wandered off to lick on some other unsuspecting lady and left me to stammer stupidly to the handsome man to my left. We had our first “official” date 6 weeks later and were married 4 years later. So, here's to you, whoever you are. You sweaty, memory challenged, lustful licker. On this Valentine's Day, 12 years later, your efforts did not go unrewarded.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lifetime Achievement Award

This seriously just 1407 in the afternoon, in the 100 block of Bristol Cove, 3/4 of the Watts family napped AT THE SAME TIME. Yep, that is 100% of the Watts that weren't working. Did it take massive amounts of rain and coldness? Yes. Did it take reading 9 books in "Mommy Daddy bed?" Yes. Did I let them stay in "MD bed" for the nap? Yes. Judge me if you may, but your tired eyes are judging one rested Momma so who's the winner now? I was so rested, I even got up to snap this for proof. And that, Friends, does indeed qualify me for today's Lifetime Achievement Award.