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Monthly Archives: September 2014
So, as promised, I have put together a follow-up blog complete with photos to prove I truly did venture into the world of wagon decorating to deliver on the Mommy delirium Frozen wagon promise. It actually wasn’t all that traumatic. And the wagon came out pretty cute, too.
I hit Hobby Lobby during its duly-appointed time slot on the grid of insanity that is my schedule. Side note: Did you know that there is an app for this place? And that they always have an online coupon? It’s a good one, too – like 40% off of an item! And their Christmas section is already in full swing and on sale! And that no matter how many people are shopping or waiting in line, they only man two registers at a time. The staff is super nice, though. So, there’s that.
I had allotted 40 minutes to get in, get shopped, and get out. Yes, I am a total rookie. I’ll pause here to give the Hobby Lobby veterans a chance to wipe the tears of mirth from their eyes and collect themselves enough to continue reading. We all good here? Okay.
Realizing my mistake immediately upon seeing the checkout lines, I grabbed a basket, straightened my shoulders and charged ahead at a pace any mall walker would envy. I gave myself a stern talking to about not getting sidetracked by all the aisles of sparkles (there is so much to look at, and all of it shiny or poofy or patterned), choosing to listen instead to the repeating voice of Steph’s advice. “Don’t get fancy, sister”, she admonished, “just slap some glitter on that business and be done with it.” Roger that. Glitter is a go. It’s nice to have friends that understand our limitations without making us feel bad about them.
I quickly decided that this was not the time to get in over my head and try to create a masterpiece on the fly. My solution was direct – I headed straight for the Christmas department and raced up and down the aisles, grabbing everything that was white, silver or sparkly blue. I snagged three different types of snowflake ornaments, two packages of fake snowballs and some tinsel. I blasted my way through the feather boas and quilt/toy stuffing. I accosted HL staffers for help with glittery spray paint and spray adhesive. I re-accosted another staffer for help with the tiaras (apparently, they are quite concerned with the likelihood that rampaging brides will steal $12.99 tiaras right out of the wedding zone, thus placing them in a locked case…like they are the most valuable thing in the store). I fidgeted my way through the checkout line wait, downloading of the magical coupon app and excited questioning of the very enthusiastic cashier. I headed out the double doors, arms loaded down with $68 of supplies and a determination to decorate a wagon to be proud of if it killed me.
Naturally, I called for reinforcements that evening, bribing Pledge Ashley with promises of dinner. I already had the wagon washed and prepped for glitter paint when she arrived, and we sprayed that puppy down with vigor. Once it dried, we filled it with stuffing to approximate snow and then got to work picking out snowflakes. Sweet Friend looked at me all wide-eyed and asked, “Where’s your glue gun?’ Seriously? I stood blinking at her for about 30 seconds, until she threw her hands up in exasperation, exclaiming, “How do you expect to craft without a glue gun?”
First of all, I never actually “expect to craft”. Ever.
Second, since when is “craft” a verb?
You’ll be quite impressed (or horrified) to know that we did indeed secure four beautiful snowflakes to the wagon using Kinesiotape – it’s that colorful stuff you see on marathon runners and Olympians. I use it all the time as a PT….and I happen to have it in blue. I knew we needed something that could stick to a plastic surface covered in glitter paint. Booyah!
Emry’s reaction was priceless. Her excitement and wonder and appreciation were beyond anything I deserved. We put a singing Olaf as the passenger, dressed her in her Elsa costume and tiara and headed to the parade of a lifetime.
Look at that smile! Best outcome ever!
The picture doesn’t do the amount of sparkle justice. I’ll be cleaning glitter out of my car for months. Just as I started to wonder if we had overdone things a little, we got to school, unloaded and made our way to the classroom. The oohs and aahs over her outfit and crown and braid were adorable. I headed to the gym to drop off the wagon, and was so very grateful for the crafting effort put into her little float. These wagons were incredible. They were colorful and creative and impressively themed. In the corner of the gymnasium was a mother/grandmother team with a glue gun (apparently a common tool), building a mast onto a pirate ship wagon. I kid you not. It was epic. And a bit scary. My glitter paint didn’t seem so out of control at that point.
The “parade” was just as precious as we expected it to be. Parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and teachers stood in the parking lot clapping and smiling and taking pictures while patriotic music blared from the lone speaker and our little darlings marched around the designated route. Emry was so proud, waving and smiling as she marched by pulling her creation and occasionally shouting orders to the easily distracted little boy in front of her. Those sweet little showmen walked around the assigned circular path no less than 137 times. I am not even kidding. I guess the school figured since we had put so much effort into the wagons, we would enjoy watching them go by over and over and over and over……
I’m not ashamed to say I shed a few tears as I watched. She looked so grown up and pleased with herself. Her face lit up every time she went by and saw us waving. Her wagon, her dress, her hair….all were exclaimed over and complimented the entire morning. When the parade was over, my little ice princess ran full tilt towards me, leaping into my arms and wrapping herself around me with abandon. She hugged me tight, whispering in my ear, “Thank you, Mommy”.
Oh, my heart. Talk about a moment to freeze in my memory forever.
Who knew stepping outside of myself, of my comfort zone and preferences could be so rewarding?
I may even buy a glue gun….
Solidarity, sisters. Life is art.
So, I’m having guilt and some self-imposed stress because I made a deal with myself to blog more often, and I am failing miserably at this so far. Thus, I decided today to share with you my journal entry from this morning. Yes, I still manage to journal most mornings in spite of my insanity. And, yes, I am opening those thoughts up to you, my friends. It’s getting real up in here. Ready? Ok!
Yesterday was both rough and refreshing, which is odd to say, as I struggled through the day trying to survive on two hours of sleep following a night up with vomiting Emry. She’s such a little trooper, she really is. Through all the dry heaving and puking she never cried once. Just got a bit fussy. And basically, all I did was hold her….all day. I did work a bit – scheduling, supervising, checking e-mail…but mostly, I held her.
I’m not good at that often enough.
She was in Heaven. She excitedly told everyone we spoke to (because we had to phone all grandparents or speak when they called and spread the news that Princess was sick) that she was skipping school to stay home. Each person asked some variation of the question, “Is Mommy staying home with you?”. To which she would proudly reply, “It’s just me and her!” It was like rays of sun and rainbows and tangible joy pouring out of her. Talk about uplifting…and humbling. I know I could never do anything, be anything good enough to ever merit this kind of status and adoration from such an incredible little miracle. What a gift.
The icing on her cake was the arrival of her Elsa dress. She completely flipped out when we opened it. And she looked like a dream when she put it on. I got so enamored with the intense Day of Mommyhood and cuddles and her contagious excitement and twirling and posing and playing that I completely lost all sense of reality and somehow promised to create a Frozen themed wagon for her preschool parade.
Heaven help me.
I have lost my ever-loving, can’t-craft-to-save-my-life mind. What was I thinking? It’s like I shifted into a parallel universe for the day. I even built a break into my schedule for today so I can go to Hobby Lobby for supplies. What?!?!
As I started to panic a little, getting overwhelmed by the insanity of my schedule and length of my to-do lists (because my stuff doesn’t fit on only one list….and I have issues with losing lists), the little voice in my head went all retro on me and started singing “Have a Little Talk With Jesus”. I tried singing it to Gregg, which was challenging because the male and female vocal parts overlap, as do the lines – so one person can’t do it justice. Oh well, it’s in my head now. And it made Gregg laugh and shake his head over the soundtracks in my head.
Then I pulled this verse: John 15:17 – This is my command: Love each other.
If I do nothing else today (I mean, I’ll do tons today….so let’s say if I do nothing else well), doing this…showing love to others….that is a great accomplishment.
So: Patients, here I come. Meetings, here I come. Errands, here I come.
Carpool, here I come. Hobby Lobby, here I come (yikes).
It’s another day in the life.
And I love it.”
There it is, my loves. My morning musings, without polish or premise. They’re a bit discombobulated, but it was early and I was only halfway through my first cup of coffee.
I’ll follow up with my Hobby Lobby adventure and final wagon result soon. Just know that this will involve glitter.
Solidarity, sisters. Every day is an accomplishment.
Summer is over! Well, I mean, summer vacation is over. I realize the official first day of Fall is several weeks away, and that here in South Texas we are still in for ridiculous extremes of heat until Thanksgiving. Still, school has started (Praise!), so we can pretend.
The Friday before school started here, I actually had a pretty open day (shocking, I know), so I did what I always end up doing on a day that isn’t too scheduled – I planned to do all kinds of organizing and starting-the-new-school-year-off-right projects. Almost simultaneously as the project planning began, I promptly threw such ambitions out the window (not so shocking) in order to hold a brief (well, it was supposed to be brief) church event planning meeting, do one of the Girls a solid and watch her kids for a bit, and put together an end-of-summer river day for my boys and some of their friends. I just can’t help myself. It’s like a compulsion. And then I wonder why my house is a disaster, my to-do list never shortens and I can’t ever pull off Pinterest-worthy anything. I’m never bored, though, so there’s that.
At some point that Friday, I had 13 children go through my care. I know. I am ridiculous.
It all started with my three kids, of course….and one of my nieces was in town….and the sweet lady from church who came over to meet had her two grandkids….and Steph needed help with two of hers, one of whom is her sweet, adorable, tornado of a son, Aaron (who should probably count as three kids, but I did only count him as one – some of you may know him from the I’ll Be Second blog)…..then Mel’s son came over to hang with Luke and play until Luke’s buddy and his brother came over (because the brother and Mel’s son are BFFs)……Drew’s two friends entered the picture later. It was chaos, complete and utter chaos. There were kids everywhere – running, jumping, coming in and out, getting snacks, asking for water…. Aaron was supposed to have OT that morning, and since his OT and I are friends and co-workers, she braved the nonsense to get in a therapy visit. Brave girl. And he actually did very well, considering the chaos. I was quite impressed with him and his ability to maintain his composure without getting too overstimulated or agitated with all the noise and distractions. He did lose it briefly after his session, though, expressing his displeasure via the clear I-am-done-with-this act of beaming Emry in the face with a cucumber. I am not even kidding. I think we’ve established that I can’t make this stuff up. He also single-handedly demolished all order in my kitchen in a matter of 45 seconds or less, which is how he snagged the cucumber and got a shot off before I could catch him. It was epic. Points for style, coordination and comedic timing. I could barely control my laughter as I attempted to corral/console/admonish.
Luckily for Steph’s precious hubby, I am married to his soul mate, so I barely batted an eye when he showed up to get kids two hours late. I finished cleaning peanut butter off the blinds (don’t ask), threatened and loaded kids and dog into the suburban, then headed out to get the first of Drew’s friends to join us. Hypothetically speaking, we may or may not have been a tad overcrowded in the suburban, and Luke may or may not have ridden in the back with the dog, under strict orders to lie down and not get Mom pulled over. Maybe. In theory. Regardless, we made it in one piece, and I had Drew’s other buddy meet us there so as not to endanger anyone (else) with overcrowding. If that was indeed the case.
Here’s the crew that survived the ride.
Don’t count them. Just trust me.
From this point on, the party started for real. I don’t know that I can adequately describe the intensity of swimming, fishing, wrestling, kayaking, turtle hunting, hot dog eating, laughing, cavorting, treasure-diving craziness that ensued. They had a BLAST!! And you know what? So did I.
I was the only adult in the mix. They were my only guests. So, my focus was different than it usually is when we have tons of people out there or I am visiting with friends. My sole purpose that day was to give them an amazing send-off out of summer. I had a more intense period of one-on-one Emry time than usual. She is hilarious! I mean, I knew that, but got to see it up close and for longer than a few minutes at a time. We held hands and walked into the rapids….suddenly, she stopped, tugged on my hand, and exclaimed in a loud voice, filled with joy, “Oh! I just LOVE the water, Mommy!” She was literally beaming from the inside out. At one point, she was wearing her pink life jacket and purple goggles that were on crooked and smushed her ears into weird shapes. She stood, poised to leap into the rapids and shoot by me so I could catch her as she roared past (one of her favorite games). Her pre-jump proclamation was, “Get ready, Mommy! I’m gonna swim to you. I’m gonna swim to you, like an angel!” (fist pump to emphasize).
In that moment, my heart just soared.
Bliss is the word that resonated through my very bones.
I looked down the river to the boys yelling and laughing and splashing, and an amazing peace washed over me.
I listened to their plans to catch the ultimate turtle, and their promise he would be mine to keep and name…..and I felt so very blessed.
I laughed and I swam and I got a good dunk or two in during the wrestling matches.
I fed them hot dogs, and didn’t worry about whether they were organic.
I let them eat Cheetos and Oreos and drink CapriSuns without checking sugar content.
I cut up a watermelon and let them eat it in the river.
I let the bigger boys stay in the water to fish and play Marco Polo as the sun went down.
I let go – of expectations and worries and should-have-done’s and perfection-seeking, list-making neuroses.
It was sublime.
It was amazing.
It was the perfect end to summer.
And if Paradise includes curly-haired angels with flowered swim suits and mis-sized purple goggles…….
I’m all in.
We threw the turtle back, though. I draw the line at Salmonella.
Solidarity, sisters. I can tell you my love for you will still be strong, after the boys of summer have gone (Come on, 80’s music fans!)