Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Nobel Peace Prize

This morning we set our alarm and woke up with plans to change just a tiny bit of the world.

I posted this picture to Instagram and my best friend made a comment that I was such a good mom and my kids would remember days like today.

Instead of her kind words touching my heart and reassuring my efforts, however, I read…"bla-bla-bla…" and thought, "Well lets just hope she's a liar."

I could have left this alone.
Left you with a  picture of my sweet boys spreading holiday cheer…
You would have probably agreed with her, and maybe offered a little pat on the back too.

But I am not into liars…
And my kids deserve to know that I failed often…
because one day their wives will too.

So here's the real story::

There is a little girl in our community asking for donations so that she can send care packages to our troops.
It certainly sounded like something we would love to be a part of--
"army soldiers"...
spreading cheer...
a chance to teach my kids about the greater good…
helping a little soul reach her goal...
I mean this certainly had my name written all over it.

So we set out.

My mom had asked me for 2 tiny measly items and I needed trash bags-- but the majority of our trip was going to be spent picking out 15 items for each of my boys to give.

Well, my boys were terrible.
They fought…
They wanted in the basket,
they wanted out of the basket,
They wanted things for themselves,
they smashed our goods,
they misbehaved,
they made the trip rather miserable,
and pretty much all 30 items were picked by me in frustration and haste.

Just as we made it back to the car and loaded into our seats, I realized I had everything for the soldiers care packages but forgot everything for me and mom.

Oh well.
I'll come back.

I headed to meet the mom of the little girl with our stuff, went straight from there to the embroidery lady's house and took a few Christmas presents in and then swung back by my house to pick up my charger and get the oldest one something to eat…
because he was 100% sure he was going to vomit from hunger.

I got the charger, and was pulling out of our neighborhood as he remembered that he was still starving and I remembered that I forgot the damn snack.

So I called Lance.
We had planned on meeting him for a late lunch, since he was going to get off at 2:00 today but I asked him if we could just come early and eat there with him at the store.
He had already eaten.
He forgot we were coming.

No big deal….
I can certainly eat without him.

My kids car seats are still buckled into the very back row of my car since my parents rode with us to ICE and they now are capable of doing that kid-thing where one touches the other and one screams out about it and when you look up no one is touching anyone so you aren't sure if one is lying or being dramatic so you just yell "STOP IT!" at everyone and turn the radio up.

But we made it there.

Just as I am biting into my kids meal, Beckham somehow sloshes his orange Fanta (yes, he gets Orange Fanta, sacrifice a lamb in my name if you don't mind) all-- over-- me.
Like it was dripping off my arm and there was a puddle under my chair.
I wanted to cry.
Not only because it probably ruined my favorite hoodie…
but because I am now the single mother of two, who's children have zero table manners, sitting in a pile of orange liquid, while eating a kids meal, with the look of misery on my face.
I am sure the 20 men from some semi-pro hockey team didn't notice-- or care… But in my head they all did, and they thought, "I'm glad my wife has it all together".

So I left, and headed to Kroger for gas.
It was about 63 degrees below zero and I somehow parked in a wind pocket, pulling breezes just shy of 80mph.
The stupid thing won't read my rewards card and somehow my pump started counting money (and gallons) before I even had it into my car-- and before gas was even coming out.
As I am trying to do my best limbo moves-- popping from the heat of my Tahoe to the chills of Antarctica, a burst of wind grabbed my door and slammed it into my knee.
I cussed.
Really bad words.
And fell to the ground.
It really hurt.
Maddox was trying to unbuckle to get to me and save the day-- and I was honestly thinking about taking down an innocent bystander just for the thrill of the kill, at that point.

I pull out of Kroger and head straight to Starbucks.
because I deserved it… and I don't believe in drinking and driving so vodka was out of the question.

My kids spied the McDonalds next door and asked if they could have ice-cream.
They didn't 'deserve' ice-cream, but I didn't deserve anything shy of a punch to my throat after my cussing spill at Kroger so I obliged and decided I would just get coffee from there.

I'll let you guess how many minutes it took before the boys had melted ice-cream all over the leather in my car…
it'll be more fun that way.
It was all over their clothes too…
And since neither of my kids like to be dirty-- they didn't want their ice creams anymore either.

So I called Lance.
He said to just wait around for him and he would be off in just about an hour or so and we could go do something fun.
"Like go to Cabela's." he said.
"You can just go to JCPenney's and kill some time."  He added.

I honestly couldn't decide which sounded more fun?
...being kicked in the face with a steel toe boot or either of the two options above--
much less both, while still drenched in orange soda and sticky milk product.
So we headed home.

Maddox went to play with the neighbor for about an hour and Beckham and I snuggled up and watched an episode of Word World, and the world seemed to be coming right again.

But then Maddox came home and my kids went back to being two cats fighting for space and Lance called and said he was just going to "run by Dick's and then Cabelas."

I really didn't care.
Although I did envy his extra hour alone.
I wasn't mad at him.

So I sat down, with 3 loads of clean clothes and started separating and folding clothes while I caught up on my Real Housewives.

Lance came in the door and immediately asked what was for dinner.
Not like a jackwagon, but just the innocent question, "what are your plans for dinner"… and I calmly shrugged my shoulders and smiled-- because I was now "off the clock", and it just hit me that me that we have these things that I am responsible for like cooking and laundry and scrubbing toilets that are and will always be 100% my responsibilities because I am the only one with a vagina in this house-- so I didn't really care what they ate, and the shrug seemed more appropriate than listing the things that I just wrote.

He grabs some power tools and tells me he needs me to come hold the fence against this wood so he can screw it back together, so I pretend like I wasn't enjoying my moment of adult time (even if it was laced with laundry and parenting) and I do it.
But not without rethinking all that I just listed before, and wondering how my private parts have to magically flip gender when I am needed to assist in power tool adventures…
and not without being cold.
Because it is still frigid.  And windy.  And I still despise both of those things.

So while I am holding up the large piece of lumber that probably weighs 4 pounds less than myself, I hear Beckham screaming.
Beckham rarely cries-- He has a pain tolerance unlike anyone I know.
But this wasn't even a cry.
It was a blood-curdling scream that I would assume one makes as they enter the jaws of a Great White.
And I could hear it crystal clear from the back yard with the door shut.

So I ditch Lance, run inside--
and I find Maddox in the utility room, holding the door shut with one hand and devouring as many vanilla cream stick thing-cookies as he can fit in his mouth before this party is busted.

I don't even care though.

Because it is now 5:05 at this point and I already have 2 calls and my friend from work is texting me to let me know that they have been sending my pages to her so more are on their way.


And Lance is still outside trying to fix the fence, and my kids still hate each other, and every other call is someone who doesn't have their prescription so it isn't a quick fix on my part, but rather a couple of phone calls or looks through the computer.

I sat down and start calling but I couldn't get caught up.

Now hold on to your seats, this is where this story gets nasty.
Lance rounds the corner still decked out in his Mountain Hardwear and Sitka and bypasses the fighting children and says, "were you not coming back?"

oh hell no.
(^if you didn't read that in your best thug voice, back up and try it again.)

I lost it.
I told him about how busy call was and the type of calls I was getting….
I reminded him that I am now at work where I would be for the next 6 hours and I can't be everybody's everything all of the time.
I pointed out the behavior of the kids that anyone aside from Helen Keller wouldn't need broken down for them and asked him to handle that…
And I slid over a quick re-cap of my day, which included no trip to any fun girl store by myself-- much less two.
I reminded him how I handled his stressful day just a few days earlier and the things I told him and how I coddled the entire situation for him and offered praise… and wondered why he couldn't do the same for me when I was "falling apart".

He handles me always with a laugh in his voice and sometimes it calms me and other times it mocks me-- but he kept repeating the words "falling apart" as if to say that I was being a tad dramatic and then he says….
He says,
Hold up…
catch the drama--
Lance. says, "it can't be that bad Holly, I just saw you were on Facebook."

So I grabbed the pen sitting in front of me and threw it at him.

Let's get this clear.
I didn't dig for a pen made of metal or one that looked sharp…
I just grabbed the BIC in front of me and tossed it his way while stating that if had no way to help my situation, than at least take himself out of it.
I didn't rear back with my best baseball throw or accurately place my whizzing pen.
But despite my lack of athleticism, it did hit him.

And he fell to the ground like a 10 point buck...
Which just made me even madder.
I believe I even said something like, "Okay, okay, okay… can you please take that dramatic episode out into the hall way and close the door.  I have 10 patients holding… and that's pretty much my max."

But he stood up and blood was literally dripping from his ear.
I kid you not.

Of course I felt terrible--
but I am not Katniss!!
He knew that I had no intentions of piercing his right ear-- but he certainly wasn't a Care Bear about the whole escapade either.

He went on and on about how bad it hurt and what if it had been his eye---
He wouldn't wipe the blood off so my terrible action was just staring me in the face over and over.
He wouldn't accept my apology…
Or get out of the room,
And I still had people to call back so I had little time to even devote to this madness.

I knew that I had failed literally every single person that I have encountered today…
It was all me.
But other than going to sleep, I had no way to start over-- and could only push forward.
So I closed my bedroom door and started calling people back.

Lance starts telling the kids that they are going to Sonic and and then I heard him ask Maddox, "are your seats still in the very back of mommy's car?" and when Maddox told him yes, he said, "oh, well B can just stay here with mommy-- it is too hard to get y'all in and out all the way back there.

And even though I am desperately wanting to win my husband's friendship back, I opened the door and said, "over my dead body…  You're all going."
And they left.

I got caught up on call and ran over to WM to pick up my mom's two things and my trash bags and then I sat in the parking lot of WM telling my mom all about my day.
And we laughed.
And I cried.
And of course more calls came through.

And I finally returned home to Lance-- sitting at the table with 2 crying boys and he says, "I have never seen them this tired.  I think they just need to go to bed."

Which I think was his way of saying, "your day probably really did suck."
and then he said, "I know you said that you didn't want anything, but I bought you some tator tots with cheese just in case"… which I think was his way of saying, "I know you really didn't mean to spear my ear with that pen, and I now accept you apology even though I won't really ever say that out loud and you really don't deserve it because you still threw a pen at me, which is admittabley crazy."

So yes.
We gave a care package to some troops today.
Woo Hoo Holly.

But if you made it to the end of this madness that I call my life, you can clearly see that everything is not as it appears, all of the time.

And no.
I do not deserve a Nobel Peace Prize.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lightroom and crap

My mom had planned on getting me Lightroom for Christmas but they put out an offer for LR plus PS for $9.99 /mo-- which is a crazy good deal.
So I jumped on the offer myself-- and since I was already paying almost that every month for pic monkey, I didn't feel guilty!
[Here is a link to the offer if you are interested.]

I haven't even opened Photoshop yet because I have heard about it's complexity, and I have been making myself nutty already watching videos and trying to learn LR.

It is a lot.
Very time consuming.

And since I still don't even know how to take a great picture with my camera (that I bought 5 years ago), I certainly am not looking to take over the world of photography…
but I would like to be able to take fun pictures of my boys.
With something other than my coveted iPhone camera.
And to edit them.
To my own likings.
Whenever I want.

If you know me, however, I am an instant gratification kind of girl--
and I am getting very little gratification so far.
I like clean and clear pictures.
crisp and airy….
with little or no noise.
Which seems simple.

So far I have found that it is not...
That's a skill.
And it isn't on my radar yet.
As a matter of fact-- my people are still jaundiced in my after pics,
but I am learning.

So I am preparing you for a non stop trail of pictures of my boys…
dressed up and miserable.
Crappy pictures, out of focus
and over edits…. as I learn this.

There will probably be lots.
You were warned.

Yesterday we planned on going to watch the lighting of the Christmas tree but after 2 minutes in a field trying to get a few pictures…
I realized we would not last 2 hours in those arctic temperatures.

So instead we went to Cabela's and bought Christmas presents for the men…
And we went to dinner.

And then I spent the rest of my night playing with these pictures...

Really only 100% happy with that close up shot of Maddox...
And face-timing Candi for tips and tricks and help!

She hasn't even gotten grumpy one time yet-- and I have texted her no less than 2 million questions!
She even edited these 2 for me because I was so frustrated!

She is a gem like that!

Now, for the "crappy" part in the title-- I must update.
Beckham has not sported a diaper in over a week.
Which sounds like a "yay"…

Remember that Lance and him fought it out last Monday and then again on Wednesday… both times taking him right at an hour of sitting before he surrendered.
He sat for a little over TWO hours on Friday with me.
Which almost sounds like child abuse, but he wasn't crying-- we played with toys and I even fed him his lunch like a baby, from the toilet before he finally gave in.

I talked to his pediatrician on Saturday when I worked and she offered a potty psychologist consult-- which is nuts that they even exist-- and I declined.  I really think that we are right on the brink--
And at this point, I think I am going to have to stay with it and not go backwards to the diapers-- even if he cries and begs…
or takes 3 hours.
He has been "potty trained" now for four months except for the five minutes every other day that he sports the Pamper, and I think it is time we call this thing done--
however, I don't always have 2 hours to put into this so I have been a little anxious about it.

Tonight he asked to go.

He didn't mention the diaper, just grabbed the baseball potty out of the closet and sat down.
Maybe two minutes later, probably less, I popped my head in the door and asked if he was going and he said yes!
He had already pooped!

I was so proud…
We called Lance who praised him…
Maddox slid in for the high five…

And then Beckham went into the living room and crouched behind the recliner and pooped a little more in his underwear.      

In. his. underwear.

Do I stick with this new agenda, and go backwards to possible accidents??
Do I call that a fluke and just make him sit longer to assure that he is done-- but keep moving forward with the potty?
Do I just go back to the dang diapers where it is quick, confident and complete?
Do I call this potty psychologist?

What do I do with this crap?
Pun intended.

Maddox was exactly 2 and a half before he was completely potty trained…
so maybe I am asking too much?
Some doctors tell you not to even start the process until three.
So if you compare him to that, he is a potting Einstein!

I guess I am going to try and push forward.

Here's to week two.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

ICE 2013

People tell me all the time that I would be in trouble if I had a girl, because of the way I dress my boys.
But in my head, she would just wear a lot of Carters with matching bows-- because I don't think it is that hard to make a little girl look stylish.

When my boys will let me, however, I like to make them look as if they are auditioning for the GAP catalog.
Maddox would prefer to wear "soft pants" though, and Beckham would prefer to wear a hat that doesn't match anything we have… so these times are not as often as I would like them.

Since they looked so dang cute before ICE, in the skinny jeans that Lance can't believe I bought, I drug them out for a few pictures before we left!

And a few more with my cell phone…
because they're the most handsome things I have ever seen!
(I can say that... I birthed them)

And then on to ICE at the Gaylord.
Which I will be honest…
I hardly saw any of.

I didn't even realize it until I was defrosting my frozen fingertips and de-clothing everyone's layers, that I was so busy making sure everyone was accounted for in a sea of blue,
that I missed most every piece of chizzled ice.

I am sure it was nice.

It had to be…
Maddox even claimed that his favorite part was the iced out baby Jesus.

So there you go.

We went to El Fenix afterward with my Aunt Missy, Uncle Mike, my cousin Amber, and her two girls.
It was a site to be seen, no doubt.
First of all, Beckham was in rare form.
I am not sure if he accidentally fell into a bowl of methamphetamine or what, but that child wouldn't stop.
He was talking a million miles an hour, flicking beans on everyone near, dipping his chip into queso and then back into the chip basket, aggravating Kyleigh and Maddox and just being a rotten turd!

The waitress took a tumble just before she reached our table and half of our dinner went into the floor.
She was embarrassed, we were telling her it was okay, (secretly happy that my uncle's food made it since he would have been the one to get crazy) and Maddox kept asking, "but what happened?" over and over and over to a girl who already wanted to cry…
In the mean time, my cousins tiny baby reached up and got a packet of Sweet and Low and was eating it like it came from Gerber, and while Missy was trying to clean up that situation, she grabbed her tea glass and spilled it everywhere.

My aunt was lodged between the kids and looked like she was 3 seconds from a self inflicted butter knife wound ...and Lance and I still had no food.

Once everyone was finished, they finally brought us some nachos…
and comped them--
so you know this frugal diva was a-okay with that.

Beckham kept up his wild-ass ways on the way home, clicking his tongue over and over and poking Allison.

Maddox couldn't sleep and by midnight there was a family of four, all coughing and hacking, in my bed.

It sounds like we had a mess of a night.
But no.
ICE was definitely fun… and I honestly can not remember the last time I laughed as hard as I did at dinner!
Even if it was at my own misbehaved kids,
and starving husband!
And at the expense of my poor aunt!

ICE was a success...
I can not believe it is almost Christmas.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

no complaints November

Tomorrow we are going to ICE.
Maddox has been giving a daily countdown for a few weeks.
I love being a mom.
I love planning this fun and exciting stuff for my kids.
I love that I married a man who loves family time like I do.
I love that I am a bargain-ista and was able to get our tickets half price!
We are obviously excited.

But to keep this little blog in order, I will document the last week at midnight, and get this thing up to date!

We have had the craziest weather… ranging from tank-tops to parkas and back, twice, in a 7 day span.
We spent the day at the park.
Our little neighbor who Maddox worships came with us and there happened to be 2 other little boys there to play as well.

It was cold.
I made loaded baked potato soup and snuggled up in my heating blanket.
Lance walked in the door with a few surprises, and we made a party on the back porch.
Pictures prove a festive and fun time--
but my memory recalls more work than fun!

...Keeping tiny fingers from the fire pit, calming the metal rod from slinging a marshmallow fireball across the group, hot chocolate being too warm, someone needing mittens, constantly going in and out, hustle and bustle-- all while I was on call.
Still, I was impressed by Lance's efforts.
Two and five is just busy.

We stayed home the entire day, lounged out watching movies and reading books.

Thursday we met Candace and Audrey to jump.

Chickfila and a haircut for Lance afterward.
I talked him into a more "hip" cut and I am kind of obsessed with it!

Friday my mom came over and Maddox talked her into taking him back home with her.
Of course Beckham wasn't going to let him go alone,
and mom snagged up Gunner and Ellie too, for the night.

Lance had softball games that night and it was too late of notice to get a girl's dinner together,
so I did something that I am not sure I have done since becoming a mom.

You know me well enough to know that I spent a little of my time cleaning…
I also renewed my CPR online.
But mostly I did not one thing at all.
…and it was quite lovely.

Saturday I worked.
Lance rode into FTW with his dad and I picked him up at the gun show when I got off.
We had lunch together on the way to mom's at Mexican Inn, and then made our way to the kids.
We ended up riding around their land and watching movies until midnight, before we finally went home.

Sunday Lance worked.
I was sick that entire morning but took a turn to better by 3:00.
Lance had his final softball game that evening, and I was looking forward to going.
They won the first game but lost the 2nd.

My sister drove out to watch (and by "watch" I mean watch me-- because we were playing the jack-hole who likes to talk ugly to my husband… and I was prepared to pull his ears right off of his head if he pulled any crap like he did the last time that they played each other.)
There was no ugliness though, so all was well.
Other than the loss, of course!

She stayed the night, and Monday was her 22nd birthday.

We spent the day on the couch watching movies and then met the whole family at The Olive Garden for dinner.

That evening Beckham and Lance fought the potty once again…
but this time, Lance finally won!

I have a bucket of cheap toys for little things like this and he picked a blue ball.
He has carried it around since and even woke up during the night crying for it last night!
We have praised and praised and praised…
Just crossing our fingers this is the start to something.

Today Lance was home by 3:00.
He played cars with the boys while I made a big dinner.

Unfortunately call was a mess so I didn't get to eat with them…
but my gem of a husband did clean the kitchen while I got caught up, so I can hardly complain.

Tomorrow is ICE…
We are totally stoked.

November has treated me well.
I have no complaints.