Mommy can…

Mommy can…two words that result in less sleep but pays out in smiles and a warm heart. My little moody tyrant is five, and still has that blind faith that all he has to do is ask and Mommy can make it happen.  His first school program is tonight and I found out that he needed a costume less than 48 hours ago.  A form “should” have come home two weeks ago but it didn’t and yet that is not something you can explain to a 3 1/2 foot tall mini person with blind faith.  So what’s a mom to do but create the cutest, fast costume Wal-mart can offer up. 🙂

Statistics Suck

So I just finished comforting my 17 month old baby back to sleep from yet another night terror and it got me thinking how our family got a raw deal when it comes to statistics.  Generally statistics are used to comfort people and show them how unlikely whatever big, bad, ugly thing is to occur to them.  Well here’s a few not so comforting stats…

  • 3-6 percent of children get night terrors (both of mine have them)
  • According to the experts at the Allergic Child website, 2 to 3 percent of children under the age of three years are allergic to the protein in cow’s milk just like Livi
  • 4 percent of adults have a food allergy …my husband has three, gluten, corn and egg
  • 10 percent of people are allergic to penicillin..Alex being one of those
I’m not throwing a pity party here, just had to go on record that watching my baby girl flail around in hysterics that not even Mom or Dad’s arms can help sucks and the statistics don’t make me feel better.

Leave it to Beaver Lied

Not at my house!

Does anyone else wonder what happened to the quiet, calm peace of the 1950’s Dinner table?  Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing wrong when I glance longingly at the wine bottle wondering if I should have it with dinner or enjoy a glass as a reward once the kids are in bed. Dinner at my house could qualify for armed forces training. There is flying plates to dodge when Tiny Tyrant spots something she would rather have than her designated dinner, search and destroy missions by Moody Tyrant when he flees the evil poison hidden in his food (anything red or green is immediately under suspicion) and negotiating worthy of the United Nations as I try to keep Mr. Tyrant from loosing his temper with all the drama and chaos.

Meal planning helps to some extent ( thank you so much!) but for the most part any given night can be a surprise raid that can turn my world upside down. I constantly walk a very fine line between trying to cook dinners that will suffice for my kids (or have components that I can quickly change up to something they enjoy (such as making Pad Thai but leaving noodles and chicken out and plain), and creating an atmosphere that doesn’t completely cater to the tiny tyrants in my house.

I wonder sometimes how much of this is the changing society that our children grow up in.  Are they so demanding of our time because they have so little of it anymore?  Did kids use to enjoy playing outside or by themselves more because they were home with mom all day? Or have we created a generation of children that need to be entertained constantly since they are so very used to the instant gratification of television, toys and constant companions at childcare centers. Moving into the holidays I’m attempting to keep digital interruptions out of our evenings by keeping the computer, iPad and my phone off or ignored until the kids are in bed.   It’s my own little social experiment and at the very least I’ll spend sometime proving to myself that Pinterest doesn’t run my life! 🙂

Today it’s The Traveling Tyrant

Let me start this by saying that 5 am is a ridiculously early time to get up. I know there are some amazing/crazy people who get up at this hour every day to workout and do all kinds of good stuff, but since the onset of Moody Tyrant and Tiny Tyrant, the little people that run my life, there is never enough sleep. However today I was up bright and early at 4:45 am to catch a 7 am plane to the wintry northern lands of Detroit.

Generally I love to travel. I love the break from my routine chaos, love the adult time where conversation doesn’t require an encyclopedic knowledge of every superhero every made, their superpowers and who’s nemesis is whose. However this has been a tricky trip from the beginning. I got late notice, booked a super expensive flight, only to realize that Mr. Dictator was also traveling. So starts the scramble for a sitter for my kids who is willing to pull a 36 hour shift.

Sitters are never in short supply but I always feel a bit Machiavellian booking anyone for an overnight. My kids are not solid sleepers, nope not one bit. Matter of fact, Tiny Tyrant who is definitely showing significant signs of being another High Sensitivity Child (HSC) woke up with a blood curdling scream at 10:05pm last night just as I was getting into bed and for the next hour rivaled Paris Hilton with her dramatics. She screamed, she flung herself around, she demanded food and beverage befitting her tyrant state and then flung every offering away as unacceptable. All of this while tears pour down her face, she breaks out in a face rash from the screaming and refuses to be held and comforted, but also refuses to be put down. (this results in a series of back bends out of my arms so that she can be both in my arms and as far away from me as possible at the same moment)

Let me just tell you that there is nothing that will break your heart more than a child whose emotions are so overpowering to them that they are lost at sea and can’t even recognize Mom as a safe harbor. Both of my kids handle the ups and downs that life dishes out with screams, tears and extreme joy. Every moment is an up or down and our life is a runaway roller coaster. Learning to accept this as normal for us, learning to brush off the judgmental among us and learning to accept my kids for who they are instead of who I pictured they would be.

This post is a bit rambling but hopefully you’ll forgive me since this was written by a sleep deprived, caffeinated traveler!

Me, Myself and I

I’m planning to join Tera Warner’s Body Enlightenment Program and she’s asking us to list 10 things we love about ourselves each day for 30 days.  I thought it would be great to journal what those were for me since it’s a great reminder on the not so smooth days!

Day 1:

1. I love that I’m a mother. It makes me smile and brings me joy even in the incredibly tough times.
2. I love that God gave me brains and the sense to use them. I am good at my job and that helps my confidence when it’s down.
3. I love my hair. It’s curly, wacky and uncontrollable, but it leaves no doubt that I’m me!
4. I love my husband for being supportive when I need it most but not hesitating to push me to pursue what I want
5. I love that I am ok with my parenting style even when no one else is
6. I love that I know that i will always stand up defend my family and friends regardless of who it is to or what the situation is about
7. I love that my five year old tells it how it is and doesn’t think twice about it.
8. I love that I am trying to change my life to benefit my family but not because of my family! This is all for me
9. I love my facebook friends can put a smile on my face with Pinterest words of wisdom and I can let that elevate my mood and make my day.
10. I love that my one attempt at raw food led me here and that this is looking like my light at the end of the tunnel.


Day 2:
1. I love that I fought to work from home and now even on the craziest days I get to enjoy my children and not miss their milestones.
2. I love that my family loves and encourages me, never asking me to be anyone but myself.
3. I love that I buy every diet book and magazine known to man and my husband never throws their lack of results back in my face.
4. I love that I have enough confindence in myself to stand up the nutrionist that asuumed I wasnm’t following her plan when we didn’t see results.
5. I love that my smile can bring a smile to the face of those I love on the roughest days.
6. I love that I’m a cheese romantic and that chick flicks can change my mood and inspire me.
7. I love that I have a network of friends who focus on the positive and bring me up just by being who they are.
8 I love that facebook has a block button and I’m not afraid to use it to erase the negativity that some people spout every day.
9. I love that I can enjoy a sugar free, fat free beverage and love it because I’m hanging out with someone who lifts my spirits more than food ever would.
10. I love that today’s list of 10 came fast and easy because focusing on the positive brings nothing better moods and smiles for me.

Birthday Bums

So after Tyrant A’s first day at his new school, which went amazing by the way, I hoped that Tyrant O had food posioning. Now don’t get me wrong, I would never wish that on anyone but at least if it was something bad that she ate then it would be short lived and not contagious. However fate decreed otherwise. It was a bug and over the last week it has run rampant through our house. Today, 8 days later and the Tyrants and I have both been taken down and are in recovery mode.

I’ve made some homemade bread, some fabulous homemade chicken soup and homemade chicken nuggets and I’ve been dreaming of my missed birthday cake all week.

Now my family was all down and out with me on Sunday night…all except Eric who managed to escape the madness somehow. I wasn’t sick yet but had to grab a picture of my replacement birthday festivities. Who needs an adult party downtown when you can live it up with this crew!

Pants, Pukes and Panic

I will never learn. My days should start with Starbucks…when I try to avoid this pattern the fabric that holds my world together begins to unravel!

This morning started late at 6am. I slept in thinking I had earned it after the last few crazy days dealing with A’s school chaos. At 6 I jumped out of bed, got ready, joined my insomniac 5 year old downstairs and spent 20 minutes trying to get him to try on his new uniform for school. At 9 minutes in I realized THIS is what I should have done the night before. We reached a standoff when I refused to rip tags off before he tried the clothes and he refused to try anything on with tags.  Fast forward a few tense minutes and my non-negotiating with anyone under 4ft tall rule won the morning. So clothes were on for a total of 4.2 seconds before the inevitable freak out complaints started about how the clothes didn’t fit.

So what’s a mom to do but throw her kid in the car, grabbing everything he needed for his first day at a new school on the way out and hightail it to the only store smart enough to be open and taking money at 6:45am.  We looked at every pair of pants, every pair of shorts, any possible options (including those in the girls department -don’t tell my husband I even considered it :)).  It’s not like the school is overly picky. Any navy or kahki pants that are not cargo style will do. However that left me zero, zip, zilch as an option. I finally in desperation grabbed our 3rd and final attempt from the dressy section (if this didn’t work we were headed home to have a play hooky day) and rushed Alex over to the dressing room.

Did I mention that he was eating fast food pancakes in the shopping cart since we hadn’t had time for breakfast yet? No, well ignore that bit of slacker momminess then. 🙂

Luckily the size 4 dress slacks were soft enough, loose enough, almost long enough, and the waistband was forgiving enough for my size 6 wearing kiddo. I didn’t even bother to check the price tag as I grabbed them, a lunchable for the lunch I hadn’t had time to pack and softer, larger white socks and rushed to the checkout.  We made it to school with literally a minute to spare. Just in time for the bell to sound and scare the crap out of A.   I spent 20 minutes getting him settled and adjusted in his new room and headed out the door thinking I was doing good (the day before I would still be in traffic trying to get home from his old school) and I had brought my work computer with me! Since the baby had a sitter for the day I was off to Starbucks for coffee and a morning of powering through the task list taking over my droid.

At least that was the plan until I got in my car, turned it on and answered the ringing phone to find out the baby had puked everywhere. So I rushed home, spent 30 minutes cleaning the bed, the floor, the kid and starting a load of laundry…the first of many today apparently.  We kept her on fluids until lunch and her sneaky, happy self convinced me that maybe it was a one time thing. I was off to Target to locate more appropriate clothes than the fancy pants I sent A in today and her good mood and lack of any subsequent stomach issues convinced me that the time was right to try a few saltines. That lasted us exactly 15 minutes which was how long it took to get to the gas station.   As we pulled in she showered my car.  This is why I have leather!

I handed her off to the sitter after stripping her outfit and they played in the back of the van while I attempted to clean the car seat with minimal supplies.   The day got better after that, it was just another trip home, stripping the car seat and another load of  laundry, about half a dozen pedialyte popsicles and then a screaming fight at bedtime as she banged on the pantry like a kid deprived of food for weeks. So against my better judgement I gave her three more crackers.

Say a prayer for me, lets hope tonight goes better…and you can bet tomorrow morning will find me at Starbucks righting the wrong I have done the universe today.

How Do I Love My Tiny Tyrants

It’s funny, one of my daughters favorite books right now is How Do I Love You, Let Me Count the Ways by Marion Dane Bauer. What is funny is in my world instead of

How do I love you
Let me count the ways
I love you as the sun
loves the bright blue days
I love you as the bee
loves a fragrant flower
I love you as the thirsty duck 
loves a sudden shower

in my world it reads more like

How do I love you
Let me count the ways
I fight traffic for you
each and every day
I skip breakfast
I eat on the run
I get up at 5:30
Just to get my work done
I clean up toys
morning, noon and night
I even try not to complain
about the lack of sleep at night.
How do I love you
let me count the ways
There are more and more
each and every day.

To Plan or Not to Plan…is that even a question?

This Action Figure of Supermom Cracked me up!

Let me preface this by saying that today has been a long, long, long day. I’m not normally given to pity parties, fits of depression or mindless rants but it’s been a 3 day weekend filled with brush fires all around, an over anxious kindergartener, a toddler that makes me look like a benevolent ruler instead of the tyrant many think me and a husband with food poisoning.

It’s been an interesting few days to say the least. I’ve had the chance to have some wonderful adult conversations (crazy how 5 minutes conversing with an adult about something non child related can make me remember that I’m smarter than I generally think on a daily basis), had tiramisu ice cream (way to go Blue Bell!) and had absolutely no chance to sit down and prepare for the upcoming week. I’m a planner by nature so this willy nilly roundabout I’ve been on since we started school has driven me nuts.

To me the absolute key to telecommuting success is planning and organization. Now I know that sounds like a no brainer but think about how many times you get up, walk into the office, pop open the computer and respond to whatever email sounds the most urgent. Five hours later the to do list you made three days ago hasn’t been touched. We’re a reactionary society and it’s a pitfall that telecommuters espeically have to be careful to avoid.

When I first started working from home I was worried that my boss was going to sit in front of his computer around the clock waiting on my IM status to go to “away” and then message me something to try and see if I was really working or had flipped on Oprah.  Five years later and I still feel the need to prove myself worthy of working from home. I used to send emails first thing in the morning so people would know I was on the clock and I would rarely take a real lunch break.  But the funny thing is to my company at least, results matter far more than the exact minutes I’m in front of the computer. I’ve gotten creative with my time as my kids came. I still work 8 to 10 hours a day but it’s rarely from 8 to 5. That is the real beauty of telecommuting. I work from 5 to 7am in a quiet house knocking out any tasks that I need peace and quiet to think through. Then I take a break, have breakfast with my kids, load them up and take my oldest to school.  On the way back I visit with family, make work calls or just catch up on my podcasts.  I’m usually back in the office around 8:15 and can spend an hour catching up on email.  When my daughter goes down for a nap mid morning I’m back to phone calls and any other activities that need a quiet house. I take a quick lunch and then power through the afternoon until 3 or 4 when I do the carpool lane to pick my kid up from school. I rarely have anything major left to finish at that point but if I do, I do it after 8pm when the kids are in bed.

It makes for a long day but when the house is quiet, when I have that great cup of coffee and can actually catch my breath and some perspective I realize that in a society where two incomes are usually needed, this is a great solution. I have my cake and am eating it too (maybe on the run, but still…).

When I get asked how to balance it all, how it all works, and if it’s really possible to work at home with kids I just smile and say Yes! If you’re willing to plan, organize and make it a priority it’s absolutely possible and 100% worth every frustrating moment, every early morning.

Now I need to wrap this up because the crockpot is this Tyrant’s best friend for busy weeks and since soccer season just started I need to go prep tomorrow’s dinner and have it ready to roll!

Two finger typing…obsolete or making a comeback

My son amazes me. He just walked up with my iPad and asked me why I couldn’t download Angry Birds. Told me I should, pulled up the App Store, went to Angry Birds and asked if he could get it  and for my password.  What on earth will these kids be doing when they’re older if they are so computer literate already. Sometimes it feels like computers have been around forever and I have to stop and remember that I practiced typing in elementary school on a little red keyboard with a single line display. In seventh grade I learned to run basic commands by making a turtle spin in circles on a black screen. In high school I took typing to learn how to quickly type since computers were everywhere and you needed to be able to use more than two fingers.  In college cell phones began to be more than a phone and by shortly after that it was back to two finger typing to send text messages off the dial pad.   A short ten years later and my five year old can navigate both my smart phone and my iPad better than many adults.  Do they even teach handwriting anymore? I hate to date myself but boy things have changed.  With touch screen tablet devices popping up everwhere from schools to work and running everything from movies to small businesses will there be anyone left who remembers how to write a thank you note instead of sending an e-card?

Regardless my son’s comment this morning made me smile and I am constantly in awe of how quickly the learning curve of a new device is overcome by the younger members of my family.  Maybe Orson Scott Card had something when he wrote Ender…