The mama bear post


When I was around 5 years old I was at the beach with my parents and I was running barefoot on the sand. We were leaving and although my memory is hazy on the details, I remember that my dad had to go somewhere and my mom and I were walking back with someone else (possibly my grandparents). I was running ahead and then running back and having lots of fun and I stepped in broken glass. My foot was bleeding, and had little pieces of glass in it and I was screaming, hot tears kept flowing out of my eyes over my dirty cheeks and dropping buckets’ full onto the bloody sand. My mom, picked me up and carried me back to the hotel to clean me up but not before she yelled at me and scolded me for running so carelessly barefoot in the sand. I cried harder because I thought she was mad at me. 
I will never forget that day, even if the details have become slightly blurry. Sometimes I think that is the first time I was formed by something other than nature. I know that’s not actually true, but for all the things that mattered, the first chip from my free spirit was that moment. Even on a beautiful day by the ocean, running on a sandy beach, surrounded by family, you can still end up stepping on sharp glass: and that shit hurts.
These days I have kids of my own and I have found myself more often than not having to stop myself from getting angry when my kids get hurt if it is after doing something I told them not to do.  “You see this booboo? It’s because you didn’t listen to mommy!” Of course I normally don’t say that. But I surely think those very words. 
They don’t mean to do it. They don’t even dismiss what I say intentionally. They are just kids, letting their free spirits run wild. I know that despite the guilt I feel saying no and constantly warning the kids of the possible dangers around them, I am doing what a parent should. But more often than not all I can think about is how nice it would be if there was just a little less broken glass to warn against, a little less pain to protect them from. Hopefully that’s my inner child, reminding me that she still might be up for running barefoot in the sand. 

A mother’s play-by-play of traveling without kids

Last weekend was our 12 year anniversary. We spent it driving home from our family beach vacation (more likely titled trip). We finished the day by taking the family out to eat. It was fun. But it also involved lots of stops, snacks, diaper changes, “are we there yet” on repeat, and in the case of the parents: coffee. 

I wasn’t disappointed and as a bonus I had something to look forward to, which was this weekend when we got to leave for a fun weekend in South Beach, Miami… Wait for it…. Without the kids. I don’t mean it negatively to sound so excited. I love my kids. I spent our ten year anniversary being pregnant with one of them. We just have never had a chance to get away like this, so this would not only be a great way to celebrate our twelve year adventure, but also an amazing opportunity to just be Dereck and Marina for the first time in years. As we started packing I realized that this trip is not just us alone doing whatever whenever without any schedule, but it’s also a weekend of nobody needing snacks, nobody having to go potty with our help, going to bed at whatever time we want and staying in bed and till whenever we feel. 

When we went through check-in I grinned at the families in line and then hoped I am not sitting next to them on the plane. When we went through security, I didn’t have to count to four to make sure all my kids were there, I didn’t need to pull out seven baskets to put all our stuff through on the on the X-ray belt, I didn’t have to wait as little people put their shoes back on after the security check. I didn’t even break a sweat. I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. We grabbed coffee and breakfast and sat in the waiting area next to each other, silently enjoying the time together even before we got on the plane. We chatted without interruption and sipped our coffees excited for some fun in the sun, but already appreciating the time together.    On the plane I was imagining us waking in and out of sleep until at least 8:00, 10:30, then having breakfast in bed or brunch by the ocean, working out together instead of playing relay workout that started with one of us at 5:30 and the other at 7, and then, unconstrained by nap times, having some fun all over town, with a nap on the beach before a late dinner with drinks, and maybe a little bar or lounge hopping… Or even a place where I can pretend like I can dance and embarrass my husband till the sun comes up. And, in a nutshell, that’s pretty much what happened. 

Now as we are all settled in on the plane and I sit here looking over at my best friend, I  feel really grateful that after everything we have been together we are still not only in love, but also in like. We can have fun together and have lots to talk about, and we can be silent together and feel completely at ease. We not only know each other, but we have grown up together in a way, and made life changing decisions together. Everything was not always easy, and I don’t think it always will be, but I feel grateful and happy that every happy and every challenging moment,  and every easy step and adventure, I take with this man. And as for time as Dereck and Marina, well that was super fun, but Dereck and Marina have a litter of kids waiting for them, and thought I appreciate every second of our time alone together and definitely want to do this again next year, I am excited to come home to our crazy busy life with our four  silly, fun, sweet little monkeys. 

The idle blog stirs a little

I have been thinking about shutting this thing down for some time now. Along with my Facebook page, my twitter account that I mostly use to read news anyway, and my live-cam. Did you know I have one of those? I totally don’t but I felt like I needed another item in my list and I actually really like Instagram so couldn’t sacrifice it. I have been feeling increasingly like my privacy is compromised, and I don’t even mean in the sense of unknown to me computer spies, planting secret calorie free cookies in everything I do, or any kind of “the man is watching you” stuff. I mean simply that there is is just too much of me online available to “friends” and too much of them online available to me and it’s all a time consuming, misleading exercise of putting it all out there in a way that I just was never comfortable with and somehow forced myself to try and realized it’s probably not for me. The option is of course to keep the social media page open only to real friends in my life that I actually talk to on the phone or see or want to see more, but there is this grey area there between best friends, and great friends, and then neighborhood friends, and running friends, and a whole lot of not really friends but people that you know that may be friends with someone that you consider a better friend and suddenly you are playing a game of who to add or cut and that just seems strange and unnecessary and then the next thing I know I have a “friend” that has a confederate flag as their profile picture, who is against women’s rights and wants to deport even legal immigrants and I sit there wishing we just kept it at the polite hello how are you at the coffee shop or a quick wave as we pass each other on the trail on our runs. And, even at the less extreme, as I am on Facebook more, I feel like not sharing something may mean like it counts less or didn’t happen. There are so many beautiful, simple, happy, funny, silly moments in my life that i don’t share and the ones I do tend to not even be the best of them, so why am I doing it at all? The posts are getting so complicated too. All the hashtags (which I really think are not being used correctly) and sometimes I wonder if we really need a hashtag for words like “fruit” or “toilet”… I have been curiously clicking on people’s hashtag references to see what else comes up and it is a crazy amount of oddly unrelated stuff, and also a crazy waste of time.

But back to this blog and my privacy. It was at one point a closed “journal”. I had to move it and realized later I didn’t keep it private because I just didn’t think about it since I had different privacy settings originally, and then some friends found me and it was nice because family and friends got to choose whether they want to read about my random rambles and it wasn’t in anyones face unless they wanted to look and I still had my outlet and it worked. But with every child there is added pressure and added time constraint and then I started to think I was failing my blog. Obviously blogs don’t have feelings and my self imposed pressure to write something just needed a little reality check: nobody really needs this blog except me. Most people don’t even read it. So, I think I will just keep on doing whatever feels right here when I have time. Right now, I have a date with a croissant, a cappuccino, and my live-cam work. Should I hashtag that?

Going Commando and other happenings

Amelia is 2 days shy of the 16 months mark and I have been noticing some transitions in her lately that I think I will regret not having a record of. Since I feel like I am an experienced enough mother to know that the pre-marked milestones that revolve typically around your child’s wellness checkups are not really the ultimate markers, and simply guidelines for new parents to obsess over on baby websites, I have been doing what all experienced parents do: compare each new child to his/her older sibling(s) and freak out when they haven’t met a milestone at the exact same time. Seriously, how about growing some teeth a little faster? Mama is tired of steaming the nutrients out every vegetable that you can’t chew, plus it takes too long and involves an extra dirty pot to wash.
Ok, so maybe I am being a little sarcastic. The truth is that what I have noticed, even after having my first for a while, that every child is different, and even though we all think about the milestones and feel like our kid has a brain the size of Einsteins when they meet them sooner than Dr. Sears said they typically do, the reality is that I can see where the kids are growing and which things they are in the process of figuring out and which things they may have put on hold, or decided to skip ahead to. And although for the most part my kids reached milestones in a similar timeline, each had some difference. The girl is making sure that just because she is the fourth child we shouldn’t think everything will just be business as usual. She is mixing it up a little. She finally started walking more consistently this week (and over the weekend), after several months of cruising and pushing her cart and stroller but opting for a fast crawl when unassisted, and she is pretty feisty and has a tendency for some serious dramatic exaggerations. It’s kind of comical, although of course I almost feel bad laughing at all of it, but you know, I laugh anyway:). And then I proceed to ignore it all so she doesn’t get in the habit and turn into some sort of crazy two year old that I have to constantly discipline and remove from public places kicking and screaming.

She is exploring with vocabulary, her favorite being hello, hi, daddy, doggy, and Elliott. She knows a lot of words that she can’t say, which is to be expected. She is also very good at asking for things by saying mo (like more), even if she hasn’t had any of that particular thing yet. She loves stuffed animals, and dolls, and plays with her toys in a way that they are actually meant to be played with, which is very different from my boys, who even with her baby toys, turn them into something to throw, or bang, or turn into a weapon or ninja or something that a little pretend makeup powder puff is not meant to be.

D and I have figured out a lot of the girl stuff now. We get the point of bloomers that come with outfits, I explained to him that tights cannot be worn with tshirts as if they were pants (after hoping for about 14 months that maybe he will notice that it looks strange, and even going as far as parading in the house in tights and a tshirt myself to see if that looks strange), and I have really gotten good at the hair part, which I am pretty excited about because curly hair is so different from straight hair and with her it is a bigger deal than with the boys, who although also have curly hair, I found to be a lot less nervous about when they were little.

The other day we looked at the monitor and noticed that she was sleeping as she always does, on her stomach with her butt sticking up in the air and her knees slightly tucked in, except that her diaper seemed to have slid down so we were seeing pretty much her whole butt on the monitor. D did bed time that night so he was feeling pretty silly about not putting it on high enough so he went in to her room quietly (around 11 PM) and pulled up her diaper and pj pants. I watched on the monitor to see if she would wake up and she started to stir. But not to cry or call someone. She actually woke up and pulled the pants and diaper off her butt (not all the way off, just enough to free her tush), turned on her mobile pushing the button several times till her jam came on, and went back to sleep in the same position. She has done this every night and now day time nap too for over a week. Yesterday I was working from home and she called me just a little bit into her nap saying “mama, mama, mama”, which is not something she does a lot and she typically sleeps longer. I walked into her room and found her standing in her crib, her diaper off her bottom as at night and the previous few naps, and her hand reaching for me. I got closer and realized that her hand was covered in poop. And there was a bunch of it on her sheet and none in her diaper. She managed to get some in her hair, also. She looked at me and said “poopoo”, and I looked at her, and blurted out, “Oh, shit”. And that’s what it was. Literally.

March Madness

March madness at our house has less to do with college basketball (to the disappointment of at least three of us at this point), and more to do with the fact that the kids have spring break, work is typically busy this time of year, Tristan turns 6, basketball season ends and soccer season begins, and my obsessive need to spring clean, organize and purge, takes over my life in a way that cannot be contained.

The boys are ready for spring. They want the sun, the outdoor basketball, the soccer fields, and the playgrounds to be an option every day and they are all done playing inside. NOt to say that we have not been outside at all, but this is the first winter that kept us indoors more, considering we are out and about bundled up typically even in cold weather.

Miles and coach Dad had a great season of basketball and we all had fun watching. Amelia loved trying to crawl into the middle of the court during games and if I had a pedometer, I likely would have seen thousands of steps trying to keep her where she won’t get trampled by a bunch of third graders or booed by angry parents who take kids sports way too seriously. Amelia managed to brake away once all season, but luckily the team was busy on the other side of the court at the time!

Tristan didn’t do a winter sport since he is too young for basketball, although I know he wanted to be out there also. I suppose we could have played him up to first grade, but a part of me is fairly sensitive to not pushing too much too soon, even though I know it’s not really pushing since he loves sports. He will definitely play next year and over the summer. He loves riding his bike and I think is happy to be out there now that the weather is nicer.

Elliott continues to be my cuddly four year old, despite the fact that he is the size of a five or six year old. It’s hard not to expect more from him given his size but I have to remind myself (and sometimes others) that he is just 4. He loves to ride his bike, shoot baskets with his brothers, and play. He also loves to pretend to be a Ninja Turtle and to pick up sticks and pretend they are ninja weapons. This part I don’t love so much but it is cute to see him run wild outside, letting his inside voice go and picking up a loud happy sound that resembles Tarzan’s! The good part about it is that he doesn’t want to hurt anyone and he eventually gets the loud out of his system and just plays.

Amelia is very close to walking. She cruises and can walk holding a hand or pushing a cart or stroller, and we have seen her take two to three steps on her own. I think she will get more brave as we are out and about more in the nice weather, but I definitely think it’s a matter of weeks before she feels confident to just let go without us nudging her. SHe is very playful, cuddly, silly, and curious. She loves playing with her toys and taking everything out of the bottom kitchen cabinets. She understands pretty much everything we say, and is very observant, and has started to pick up a vocabulary of words, although she doesn’t use them consistently and we don’t always know what she is saying when she does. There are some definites, though, like mama, daddy, doggie, Elliott, Tristan, hiya (like ninja turtles), mo-mo (more), this, cheese (like when the camera is out), and a few others that I can’t think of right now. What she can’t say, she expresses with a loud shriek that I can’t seem to get used to or stop from happening, that moms of girls tell me is a thing that baby girls do, although I am refusing to believe that it won’t stop soon. SHe loves stuffed animals and doll babies, balls, ninja turtles, music, lift the flap books, and coloring (mostly all over herself, the floor, the walls, and not the paper). Drawing on her feet when I am not looking is her favorite way to create art. She also loves to put on a toy necklace she picked up in the target $1 section that I decided to buy for her and she has started to pick out clothes sometimes too which I find hilarious, given how tiny she is. Mimicking what everyone does is something my boys never did and is amusing to watch her do.

We now have a third dog, who is my parents’ and was shipped to us from overseas in the fall. I never mentioned him somehow, but he has gotten acclimated nicely in the house and has a good relationship with the kids and his furry cohabiters, give or take some misunderstandings about sleeping spaces and food bowls.

I think that’s as good an update as I can give at this point. Hoping to write more next month!

2015!!!! I am a few birthdays behind

December seriously flew by faster than a speeding bullet. It must be superman in disguise. I think part of it was Thanksgiving being so late in the month that the transition to Christmas was a bit quick. There was no time for the mental anticipation.
In December, two of my babies had birthdays. Elliott turned 4, and Amelia turned 1. We celebrated them individually, but had Elliott’s birthday almost two weeks before his actual birthday. He had a lot of fun playing in our basement with 4 of his best buddies Ninja Turtle style, and then having pizza and cake in our kitchen. My favorite part was when he told his friends not to eat pizza before they were all at the table and then to sing first. I had to explain that the singing comes with the cake not the pizza. He was fine with that too.
At age 4, he is the size of a 6 year old, the energy of a high strung puppy, and a very sweet, kind heart to go along with a very loud, silly, and outgoing personality. He is so different from the rest of my boys that it often catches me by surprise. He laughs loudly, (and cries loudly too), talks loudly, runs fast, jumps around a lot, and you can’t give him anything that resembles a sword and expect him to sit still. The Ninja Turtle love is big in our house and non bigger than with Elliott. He loves them now more than he loved Frozen, and is in costume whenever possible and knows the characters better than I do at this point. He grew 5 inches this year, weighing in at 45 pounds and is 48 inches tall. He loves to play, sing, dance, and run while swinging a sword around, which means that he is often in time out for sword related incidents or near incidents:).
Amelia, my sweet baby girl, turned one so fast I almost didn’t believe it. D and I were both in denial the night before her birthday. She is a happy, fun, music loving baby. She claps, and starts to “dance” whenever music is on. She seems to understand a lot now and has a few words, too. Her favorite is “Hi”. She just taps on people and says hi to people over and over again. She loves to point out all the doggies too. She says “Daddy” and “mama” and something that means, but doesn’t sound like “All done”. Once out of nowhere she pointed to her hand and said the word but I haven’t heard it since. She is pulling up a lot but not walking yet. She also crawls with a super speed. Her brothers adore her and her dad is absolutely in love in this way that is so special for both of them, and really nice for me to watch. He loves the boys, too, of course, and not any less, but it’s just a very different dynamic. She doesn’t cry a lot but she does have a shrieky noise that she makes when she is not happy with something. She loves to play peekaboo and give kisses and hugs, especially to little kids and babies. We celebrated her birthday on the actual day with a family dinner out after work. We then had our family come by over the weekend to have some dessert with us if they were able to.
Christmas was really fun. We rode around and looked at all the pretty lightly on Christmas eve with a quick stop for McDonald’s ice cream cones, and in the morning we opened gifts, and had a nice breakfast that we made (D and I also had some seriously strong coffee to offset the late night wrapping and putting together of things, and the early morning wakeup call from excited kiddies). I made a french toast casserole that I absolutely loved and was so easy and I was really proud of myself because I have never made a casserole before, despite all the cooking that I do all the time. We had bacon and eggs too and a whole bunch of fruit and then spent a big part of the day not rushing around anywhere and enjoying the holiday. Eventually we went over to see Ds brother and family, and then had dinner with friends.
I am not really doing a ton of resolutions, I kind of gave up on all that a long time ago, because I think that you can resolve to make changes any time. But I do hope to figure out a way to make more time for a hobby that i have and to continue to work on the stinking baby weight which is a bit stuck at the 5-10lb range. I also hope to PR on a half marathon this year. I started running after T and I feel like I haven’t ever had a chance to figure out what kind of runner I am as I had a few more babies after that :). So now, slowly but surely, I am thinking I will try and figure it out!
Ok, that’s the big December update.
Happy New Year Friends :)