Walking Boots

My father grew up walking the country roads of rural Georgia. He spent his childhood walking everywhere–to town, to school, to the neighbor’s farm that was miles away. He passed down his love of walking to me and now I’m hoping to share it with my daughters. They’re finally old enough that we don’t need a stroller anymore, which is nice, but stressful in different ways. They’re loose and I’m outnumbered and there are no sidewalks here and I have to corral them like wild turkeys.

When we were young, my brothers and I went for walks with our dad almost every night after dinner, now that I think about it, it was probably to give my mom a break from our constant noise because normally she stayed behind.

We’d set off on our usual route and along the way I had my small detours like balancing along the bricks of a certain driveway or a shortcut through another. We always passed The Purple Lady’s house, where, I kid you not, every single thing was purple–the house, the car, the flowers, even her hair!

Strolling along, I’d ask Papa to tell me stories from his childhood. Sometimes he’d tell me all about going to school in a tiny one room schoolhouse, walking however many miles with a group of kids he could still name as if he’d seen them the day before. And he’d tell me about the first pair of glasses he got and how he was so amazed he could finally see ants on the ground. Or how he and his older brother JR got into all sorts of mischief, pulling pranks on everyone. Toward the end of our walk, I’d run ahead and put my hands and feet in the imprints on the sidewalk on Lancaster St. right before saying hello to the yellow lab that always barked at us as we passed by.

We forget pieces of our childhood until we have children of our own and they remind us what it used to be like. I hadn’t thought about these walks for a long time until I took my girls for one yesterday. Just like my detours, they found their own along a rocky pathway, where I followed behind, feeling that long-lost spark of adventure. Then they hopped from one stepping stone to the next at the house on the corner. The big one pointed out pretty white blossoms blooming on a tree while the little one picked dandelions to carry, and I felt like a kid again, which is to say, happy.

on a walk
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3 Candles

Dear S,

Happy 3rd Birthday, darling girl! It seems impossible that you’re three years old already, yet here we are.

Where does the time go? Probably the same place where my sanity and all the missing socks end up. I say this every time another birthday rolls around, but I can’t believe you’re another year older. Time is rushing away from me, refusing to slow down, just like you. Each day you’re getting a little taller, your hair a little longer, you’re changing and maturing right before my eyes. Please stop.

You are a delight in every sense of the word. Just seeing your little face with your plump cherub cheeks and your huge expressive eyes makes me smile. You are quite the character, and as much as it pains me to admit it, you’re already such a little diva. You furrow your brow, cross your arms, and roll your eyes just like a pro. (I have no idea where you get it from.) I’m so afraid when you become a teenager. Please don’t.

You love doing everything with your big sister: “barrel racing” in the front yard, coloring pictures together, playing horses and Barbies. The two of you together is everything. The other night you asked to sleep in her bed, and while it didn’t last all night, I thought that was the sweetest thing in the world.

Every night I put you to sleep, reading, rocking, and singing to you. It’s my favorite part of the day. Your body curled up in my arms with your tiny arms wrapped around me. Your little voice telling me you love me back. I’m always so exhausted by this time that sometimes I just want it to be over so I can rest, but then I realize there’s no better place than in your parent’s arms, so I rock you a little longer and squeeze you a little tighter because you won’t always let me hold you like this, although I hope you prove me wrong.

We have big plans for your birthday today. A trip to the zoo, and then a party with friends and family, even a rainbow donkey pinata that you’re head over heels in love with. Something tells me you’re gonna be more in love with what’s inside the ill-fated rainbow donkey.

Wishing you a magical 3rd birthday, Sweet Pea. You truly are my sunshine. We love you!

Sunshine

 

Making Memories

Memories have always been important to me, and now even more that I’m a parent. I’m always taking pictures of my kids, recording videos, trying to capture a specific moment in time. For what though? So we can show them when they’re older? Look here, see, you loved smearing food all over your face, and here’s the time you were running around the front yard naked. I guess it’s to remind ourselves of everything because we’re too busy living it to remember it.

It’s interesting what triggers our memories. The other day I saw a navy blue S that reminded me of going to the bank with my father when I was little. The bank’s logo was a blue S that somehow engrained itself in my memory and popped up out of nowhere. All of a sudden I was standing inside that dark, musty bank playing with the metal chain holding the pen in place at the counter, running my fingers down the felt ropes as we waited in line, and hopping on one foot to the other envisioning the donut I would soon select. I hadn’t thought about going to the bank with my father for 30 years, so it seemed like a strange thing to remember, but I was glad that this forgotten time and place came back to me. I didn’t even realize it was still in there, and all triggered by this random blue S.

We took our girls to see Inside Out awhile ago. It was the little one’s first trip to the movie theater, so naturally I committed it to memory. She loved it all: the popcorn, the fruit punch, and the giant TV, as she called it. Her little face was lit with excitement the entire time.

As much as the movie is about memories, it’s also about emotions —  joy, anger, disgust, fear, and sadness to be exact. Even though my girls are young, they’re walking, talking, screaming, fighting, loving bundles of emotion, so the movie thrilled and terrified me, giving me a look inside their crazy, little heads. I know as they get older things will only get more complicated and I should just enjoy this time where everything can be fixed with a snuggle. Way easier said than done.

As parents, we try so hard to give our children the best of everything thinking it will ensure an amazing upbringing. It’s one of the reasons why parenthood is so difficult because things aren’t always so easy and nothing ever really goes as planned and we worry too much. Writing this it dawned on me that what made going to the bank with my father special was not what we were doing, or that I got a donut out of the deal, but that I was with him, holding his hand, being his little sidekick. It all seems so simple then. Hold their hands, be with them, and they’ll remember that more than anything. And also, take them to get a donut every now and then.

 

 

The Big Book of Parenting Tweets

I refuse to believe that Twitter is a complete waste of time. I mean, it is, but it did lead to something as awesome as The Big Book of Parenting Tweets.

BBPT

When I first started Twitter, my husband would jokingly ask, “Are you making money doing that yet?” To which my response was always an exaggerated eye roll. Like anyone would ever pay me for my rantings on motherhood. Well, never say never.

For me, Twitter has always been an outlet, a distraction from the monotony of life. As a mom, my life is ALL about monotony, so between the playdates, the runny noses, the diaper changes, and the meltdowns, I look to Twitter to make me laugh, to inspire me, to make me think about anything other than my children, which is ironic because they are all I tweet about. I started tweeting one year ago in January of 2014, and had no idea what I was doing including using the dreaded hashtag in my first dozen tweets, wondering how anyone ever received one star let alone thousands of them. Slowly, I got the hang of it, and now it’s not so much an outlet, but a full-blown addiction.

As a writer, I’ve dreamed about being published and now thanks to The Big Book of Parenting Tweets, I can say that I am, even though my name is not on the front cover, it’s listed on the back among all the amazing contributors, and it’s not so much my name as my Twitter handle, but you get the point. Something I wrote is in a book, therefore I’m published.

Find my @

Find my @

Needless to say, I’ll be riding this high for quite awhile. The best part of being published is that I didn’t even have to do all the hard work, a talented writer and fellow funny mummy, Kate “Whine” Hall , along with Science of Parenthood’s, Jessica Ziegler and Norine Dworkin-McDaniel, worked tirelessly for weeks curating the best parenting tweets and chose some of mine. I’m honored and so proud to be a part of this project.

It’s the perfect book because you can read a couple pages, then set it down to do one of the hundred things your children need you to do, then pick it right back up and be laughing again in seconds before you have to do the next hundred things for your children. There are even amazing, hysterical illustrations that really bring the tweets to life.

Of course mine is about poop, of course.

Of course mine is about poop, of course.

The Big Book of Parenting Tweets isn’t just for parents, it’s for anyone who loves to laugh. I’m always surprised that someone who doesn’t have children finds anything I say about being a parent as funny or entertaining but somehow they do, so I’m sure everyone will find something to laugh at in this book. It’s just THAT great! So go get a copy now!

It’ll make you laugh, I promise!

Motherhood, Interrupted

We went, we selfied, we danced…because that’s what you do when you go to Las Vegas as a married mother of two.

Moms Gone Mild, Sin City 2014

My mom friends and I loaded up our Mom-mobile stocked with every snack and necessity known to man (cause we’re moms)…

before

On the Road

…not to mention practically every shoe from our closets (cause we’re girls)…

Never Enough Shoes

Never Enough Shoes

…and headed to Vegas this past weekend. None of us cared that the drive would take several hours, in fact, we welcomed it. We were happy to finish one conversation and only take care of ourselves. It didn’t matter what we were doing as long as it involved getting away from our children. We love them to death, but when you spend as much time with them as we do, you need a break. So that’s just what we got, and it was the best time ever!

My Girlz

My Girlz

We were able to forget the very thing that brought us all together in the first place (motherhood) and enjoy our freedom. We got our hair done, we shared clothes and jewelry, and never stopped talking or laughing. We danced the night away into the wee hours of the morning, (my feet still have the blisters to prove it.) Surprisingly, no one lost anything, except our voices, and there was not one moment of drama, but plenty of inside jokes and new dance moves.

Getting Down

Hershey Rollin’

For three stress-free days we didn’t have to be moms. We didn’t have to worry about the things we worry about on a daily basis, and it was exactly what the four of us needed. Now it’s back to our regularly scheduled lives of playdates, tantrums, and bedtimes, but for those three days when motherhood was interrupted, man, did we live it up.

Cheeeeese!

Cheeeeese!

Two Candles

Happy 2nd Birthday to our little Cheeto!

177

My baby turns two today and that fact makes me want to cry both happy and sad tears simultaneously. Happy because she’s that much closer to getting out of diapers, sad because she’s that much closer to getting out of diapers. Happy because she’s getting bigger and finding her voice, sad because she’s using that voice to scream at her sister.

Since I can barely keep up with anything these days, I had to make sure I wrote her a birthday letter before it was too late.

Dear Miss Bear,

Happy Birthday, Bun Bun! 2 years old going on 20. Your little voice is one of my favorite things in the world. It’s just so sweet. Everything you say is followed up with “Mama” and it melts my heart. However, we need to work on your pronunciation some more. Whenever you say the word, frog, it sounds exactly like duck…but with an f. So naturally, your father and I ask you which animal says “ribbit” way more than we should. Just don’t let me catch you saying, “Frog you, Mama,” anytime soon.

You are quite the little pistol, so it’s a good thing your Bambi eyes and blond curls make up for your fiery,  yet loving, personality. You need that though to put up with your older sister as she gives you enough competition as it is. The two of you together run the show around here, and I hope you are as thick as thieves your entire lives (although I don’t condone any actual thievery). Most of the time you guys are fighting over toys, and soon enough it will be clothes and the bathroom, but there are moments when you hold hands and laugh together and those moments fill me with so much joy.

Two years ago I hugged your little body against mine for the first time and it is one of my most treasured memories. Now you hug me back and squeeze me with all your might and it is the best feeling in the world.

We had an absolutely perfect day playing at the beach, running from the waves, squealing with delight, my three favorite faces ever.

Happy Birthday our darling girl. We love you!

Picture Perfect

It’s no surprise that my kids drive me crazy. They are the loudest, most demanding little soul-suckers that ever walked this earth. Couple that with my extreme fatigue and we’re just a shitstorm waiting to happen.

Whenever we visit my mom I have an out of body experience where I see myself as the frazzled, exhausted cliché of a mom that I’ve become. Wearing the typical “mom” uniform of crusty yoga pants and T-shirt, I vent to her about my frustrations and wonder how she survived motherhood without downing three bottles of wine a night.

It’s not always like this though. There are snippets in between the madness when everything is lovely. And those snippets are what I put on Instagram for my friends and family so they see the illusion of my “picture perfect” life.

beach scene

waves

running

While scrolling through all my photos it looks like my life is pretty great, and at times it is, but I never have the chance to sit back and reflect on it or even enjoy it because everything is so damn crazy!

However, this morning the girls and I sat at the desk and watched a slide show of old photos play across the computer screen.

holding handswalking away

snuggles

beach

I held one on my lap while the other leaned against us and we all smiled while I explained the pictures and for a couple minutes I was aware of my luck. Then the little one tried to propel herself onto the desk while the other one tried to smash the keyboard and just like that, it was all over.

Parenthood is exhausting and frustrating and beautiful and heartbreaking. I never realized that it would be living for these tiny, fleeting moments where everything comes together and breaks apart all in the same instant. It’s wanting to pause every happy moment and fast forward through the rest of the chaos. It’s wanting to keep them this way forever and wishing they were already grown up. It’s everything all at once and for this reason I’m happy to have my wineglass waiting for me at the end of the day.

wine