Tag Archives: me

Happy SITS Day to me!!

Its my SITS day!!  Yay me!  You have NO idea how excited I am about this!

…Aaaaaaand you also might have NO idea what in the WORLD I’m talking about, lol, so let me bring you up to speed:

SITS is an amazing community with 40,000+ awesome women bloggers who support each other through comments, bloggy learning opportunities, and wonderful forums where you can REALLY get to know each other.  Wanna learn more?  I know everyone would LOVE to have you stop by, so go check SITS out!

If you’re new here, you might be wondering who I am, so let me introduce myself.  I’m Amber- the self proclaimed SortaSuperMom and co-Mayor of Boystown.  I’m an outgoing, future-chef hopeful that’s been having a love affair with coffee for years.  I’m girly and nutty and SO not grammatically correct, but -around here?- that’s the perfect combination for survival.  I’m the SAHM of 3 Natural Disasters (boys…whatever) and 2 angels, and while it might SEEM simple, if you read HERE, you’ll see just how extensive my job actually is.

My blog is ABOUT my life with the Disasters, so its just LIKE my life- there’s no THEME.  I write because its therapeutic- I’m able to re-read what I’ve written and laugh at the crazy instead of being consumed by it.  Sometimes that means discussing recipes I’ve tried; sometimes it means doing a devotional to remind me WHO is actually in charge; and sometimes it just means venting.  So, while Boystown might LOOK chaotic to the average viewer, there IS a method to the madness…I swear.

If you’ve been here before, I’m glad you’re back, and if you’re visiting Boystown for the first time, allow me to give you a road map to some of my favorite haunts:

~A post I wrote on the 2 year anniversary of losing my first angel baby.

~A little something about how -no matter what I am- I’ll NEVER be good at THIS.  It goes against the laws of nature.

~Ya know how I said I love to cook?  THIS is one of my FAVORITES.

Actually, I have quite a few posts I’m fond of, so if you want a bigger list, check out ‘Best of Boystown‘.

And if you’re looking for something to help that rumbly in the tumbly (Winnie the Pooh reference- sorry), check out some of Boystown’s fav RECIPES.

So, grab a cup of coffee (or tea, or wine- I like those, too), grab the road map, and hit up some of Boystown’s destinations.  I’m happy you stopped by!

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Dear Pre-Pregnancy Life,

Today, while I was out shopping, I passed by a rack of size 12s and I thought of you.  Just for a moment- because the Mini-Master decided it wasn’t right that I should have my eyes anywhere but on him- but in that moment, a mix of emotions filled me like you wouldn’t believe.

I tried to deny the way that I felt, but all the great memories got to me.  I thought about the trip to Hawaii when we were 17 and how I had complained about my hips and thighs then.  I was 17- I HAD no hips or thighs, at least, not like now.  I had a teenage body, void of birthing hips and stretch marks, wrinkles and less than ample boobage.  I thought about that night when my friend was describing me to someone else and she used the words “flat stomach”.  Now the only time I have a flat stomach is when I make the choice not to breathe or sit down by wearing too-tight pants.

As I walked through the store, my eyes drifted to the purses, and I thought of my ever present addiction- the one I’ve had to put on hold ever since needing a diaper bag.  Even as trendy as diaper bags have gotten -and mine is PRETTY cool- they’re still diaper bags.  They hold everything, though, so carrying a purse as well is kind of superfluous.

I strolled slowly by the cosmetics aisle and I thought about when I used to put on make up.  I guess “used to” isn’t exactly correct; I still do occasionally, but its almost like building a sand castle near the tide now.  Why put on make up when its going to be mauled off by messy face kisses and grubby hands?

I looked over at the men’s aisle as I headed toward the electronics and I thought about how many times Date Night has been thwarted.  We used to have money to do stuff!  We used to have the ENERGY to do stuff!  We used to not need a sitter crazy enough to watch 3 boys so we could do stuff!

I perused the DVDs, looking for something kid friendly- KID FRIENDLY.  I remember when our DVD collection didn’t include a single ‘G’ rating; when we didn’t need to say,”We should probably wait til the kiddos are in bed” when deciding what to watch on TV.

Buying new stuff would have to wait, though.  I wasn’t here to buy a movie- I was here with a purpose.  I headed to the kids/ baby department for the wipes.

Dear, sweet, Pre-Pregnancy life- as I made my way to the back of the store, where all the baby stuff was located, I kept thinking of you and how even trips to the store were different back then.  Lingerie meant Victoria’s Secret, not Kohl’s Clearance; necessities meant chocolate and other junk food, not diapers, wipes, baby food, and Gerber’s Puffs; PJs meant Frederick’s, not cotton PJ sets from Kmart; and toys meant, well, nothing by Fisher Price.

I have to tell you, though- as I stood there, comparing prices on sippy cups, diapers, and wipes, it hit me what else is different about this new life compared to you.

  • I waste less time on TV.  Oh, sure, the TV is on, but as a kind of defense mechanism, my mind has tuned it out so as not to hear the constant chatter of cartoon characters.
  • My husband and I have fallen in love with each other in a whole new way and we’ve learned to get creative with Date Nights.  (To be honest, that was done out of pure necessity.  It was either get creative or start carrying around each other’s photo so we didn’t forget what each other looked like.)
  • And, also, to be honest, my diaper bag IS really cool.  I’ve had loads of people ask me where I got my “purse” from.  I don’t correct them.
  • And my body?  If I ever have the money or the desire for it, I can get cosmetic surgery, but I’m not really disappointed with my wrinkles.  The stress wrinkles are linear badges of honor, and laugh lines should be cherished- and my boys make me laugh.  A lot.

Actually, Pre-Pregnancy Life, a lot of the feelings I had while I debated the different sippy cups were feelings of thankfulness.  You never got to hear a 5 year old tell his 11 year old brother that girls are made to be friends- nothing else; you never knew the pride that can come from looking at progress reports (and making a mental list of private colleges to send such smart boys); and you never knew how sweet and extremely gross -all at the same time- it could feel to have your face mauled by a 9 month old that has just eaten breakfast.

Sure, some things changed when we parted ways, but right now, as I sit next to my youngest who is slightly snoring and listening to my two older boys singing a duet of “Lollipop” in the next room, I’m pretty sure I made out better with the exchange rate.

Check the box “Agree to Terms”

I’m pretty sure someone tampered with my paperwork at the hospital.

Now, given, I’m not normally one to read over EVERY SINGLE WORD on a contract…

I know, I’m irresponsible.  That’s probably how I got into this whole mess in the first place.  I should have read the fine print.

But, really now- who reads EVERY word?  You skim the highlights, looking for blaring red warning lights, and then scribble your signature.  Its the way its been done for thousands of years.

Those hospital folk- they knew what they were doing.  They’re crafty.  After 100 hours of labor, no drugs, a failed epidural, and 2 nights of dealing with a newborn who had already decided that sleeping with mom was decisively better than sleeping in a bassinet, they handed me my discharge papers:

Them: “And here’s your info on how NOT to kill your infant, who to call when you’ve reached that point, signs to look for, blah, blah, blah- sign here to show you’ve received these and had it explained to you.

Okie doke.

Them: “Here’s info on breastfeeding because you’re less of a woman if you can’t properly breastfeed your baby for the full first year.  Sign here showing you received these.”

(me scribbling)

Them: “The lactation nurse will be in before you leave to fondle you roughly and warn you of the mental retardation that can occur if your baby isn’t able to feed properly.  Husband, you might want to be nearby to hold your wife after she’s been violated.  Did you sign?”

(Nodding my head)

Them: “The lactation nurse should have more papers for you regarding proper nutrition, but here’s a pamphlet on all the foods you SHOULD eat to help you produce milk and keep up your strength, but they’re really just for looks because you won’t be able to take a bite of food or sleep for about the first 3-9 months.  Sign here, please.”

(uh huh)

Them: “Ok, good.  And the rest of these are just…*mumble, mumble, mumble*…  Sign right there, and check the box ‘agree to terms’…”

I check box.

Them: “Good.  I’ll just tuck these away in your bag before you see what you’ve signed on for.  Good luck- I mean, congratulations!”

I didn’t realize that -not only had I re-upped for 18 years of service- but I had also unwittingly initialed boxes and signed my signature agreeing to the following:

Hospital Discharge

__I understand that my life, loves, wants, needs, desires, and basic necessities now mean nothing.

__I understand that sleep is no longer an option.  Ever.

__I understand that even with only 1 hour of good sleep the night before, I must attend to all my normal activities.

__I understand that the “one hour of good sleep” is relative and will probably still include a sleeping infant in my arms, sometimes while sitting up straight in a chair.

__I understand that “me” time is now “we” time and anything I actually try to do for me can only occur during naptimes… if there are any.

__I understand that when I complain about lack of “me” time to grand-motherly types, I will be hit with comments of “Enjoy it while it lasts”, regardless of whether or not they see the frantic, wild look in my eyes.

__I understand I’m supposed to think the things my baby does that annoy me to no end, are cute.

__I understand that I’m supposed to stare at my napping baby with awe and wonder at the life my spouse and I created… instead of clicking my heels together in joy of not having to hold him.

__I understand I will have to hold my baby non-stop, thereby perfecting everything one handed.

__I understand that the words “baby proof” are dependent upon the baby itself.

__I understand that after I bring home my little darling, I will encounter more people than ever that had “perfect” babies- ones that slept through the night, never cried, etc.__I understand that these individuals are still suffering from “mom-nesia”, and have possibly blocked out all the bad.__I understand that the best course of action is to just nod my head.

__I understand that -under no circumstance- am I allowed to return the baby.

I, ____________, do hereby declare that I am now a mom, with all the non-rights and responsibilities that title holds.  By initialing and signing my name, I agree that I will do my best to be Mary-Freaking-Poppins/Donna Reed/ June Cleaver, always calm and collect, even in the face of crying jags, temper tantrums, diaper explosions, teething, etc.

To be anything less than perfect will be cause for me to stand before the Mommy Council and I might have to give back my pearls, but never my children.

[  ] I agree to terms.

X_______________

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I do my best thinking in the shower.

Now, I’m sure there are many medical reasons why this is possible- maybe the warm water increases circulation or the water pressure from the shower head helps knead out the stress from my shoulders, which lowers my blood pressure and THAT helps with better circulation.

I personally think, though that it has nothing to do with medical reasons and EVERYTHING to do with the fact that its the ONE place in this house where I can hear myself think without fear of interruption.  With the water raining down on me, it drowns out the incessant pestering.  For the 5 minutes I get to take for myself, I get a chance to recoop and relax.

Yes, 5 minutes.  I learned long ago how to take “Army showers”.  5 minutes is the perfect amount of time to get the necessary stuff done while ensuring I’m not gone long enough for fires, explosions, or massive bodily harm to occur with the boys.

It IS long enough, however, to get some serious thinking done, and today I was thinking about my life.

Its amazing to me how we measure ourselves by what we are rather than who we are as individuals.  People in our lives- not our personalities- usually define us.  I  get it- its difficult to really find a distinction

  • I have kids- I’m a mom.
  • I have a husband- I’m a wife

We even measure ourselves by what and who we are NOT.  In my case, I’m not a career driven woman- I’m a stay at home mom.  I’m not like my brother and sister, with their medical field goals- I’m…

What?  Lacking a true career path?  Lazy?  Without ambition?  Settling?  Ordinary?

During those precious 5 minutes, I thought about who I really was- not according to others or labels thrust upon me- but ME.  What makes me, me?

  • I’m outgoing.
  • I’m sarcastic.
  • I’m a wanna-be chef.
  • I’m goofy.
  • I’m friendly.
  • I’m a neat freak.
  • I’m determined.
  • I’m sensitive.

Its true- I’m also ordinary.  My job is SO ordinary and boring that -not only do I NOT get paid for it- but most people don’t even want to waste time writing it out, so they write SAHM.  Its not considered a career choice; its an in-between- something you do when you’re in between jobs.

I’m called a “housewife” which -horror of horrors- evokes images of Peggy Bundy, sitting on a couch, eating Bon Bons.  Even worse, that’s what MANY people imagine when I tell them what I do for a living.  I’m curious about the title “housewife”, by the way.  No one ever refers to a woman as a “workwife”.  Its funny- even as I’m writing this, my computer recognizes “housewife” as a real word and there’s a red squiggly line under “workwife”.

I’m asked frequently when I’m planning on “going back to work”, as if I’m on vacation.  If this is vacation, I’ve been gypped. 

I’m just sayin’. 

I’m also told constantly about work at home opportunities- because I’m OBVIOUSLY not busy throughout the day.  I get it, times are hard and they know I’m not getting paid for what I do, but when I WAS working, we managed to still have money troubles, so what it looks like to me is that #1- you always find a way to do what you REALLY want to do, #2- a lot of money does NOT equal financial security, and #3- God apparently thinks pretty highly of our decision to have me stay at home because He always makes a way for us to get by.

Its true- I’m an ordinary, SAHM and housewife.  Just so we’re clear on what my “non-job” entails, though:

  • I’m a referee, breaking up fights.
  • I’m a cop, determining who’s at fault.
  • I’m a judge, deciding the punishment.
  • I’m a nurse, aiding the wounded.
  • I’m a chauffeur, driving to and fro.
  • I’m a nanny, taking care of kids.
  • I’m a day care provider, taking care of my kids’ friends when they’re over.
  • I’m a maid, cleaning constantly.
  • I’m a cook, feeding the hungry.
  • I’m a sales clerk, trying to get my kids to buy what I’m selling.
  • I’m a banker, lending money to my kids.
  • I’m a pastor, teaching my kids about God.
  • I’m a spin doctor, putting a twist on any bad situation.
  • I’m a lawyer, defending my kids.
  • I’m a pet store owner, taking care of our cat and fish.
  • I’m a plumber, cleaning hair and toys out of drains.
  • I’m a hairdresser, fixing cowlicks and constructing “faux hawks”.
  • I’m a teacher, helping my kids learn.
  • I’m an event coordinator, putting together birthday parties and such.
  • I’m a hostess, welcoming friends and family into my home constantly.
  • I’m a therapist, listening to people’s issues and helping them through it.
  • I’m a drill sergeant.
  • I’m a mommy group organizer.
  • I’m a friend.
  • I’m a daughter.
  • I’m a wife.
  • I’m raising 3 of tomorrow’s best and brightest men.
  • I’m a mom.

And all this WITHOUT getting paid.

Maybe ordinary is really quite extraordinary.

Queen of Coupons, I am not

Last night I was watching a show on Extreme Couponing and I was completely enthralled.
These people were able to walk up to the check out lanes with over $1000 worth of groceries and walk away spending somewhere around $.06 or less.
Much like with food and weight gain, anytime I walk into a grocery store, I’m pretty sure they charge me $100 immediately just for LOOKING at the food. The idea of couponing seems like a great idea, but I question how great of an idea it would be for ME- especially since, when I saw the extreme couponers (ECs, if you will) walking around with briefcases full of coupons, my immediate thought was, “Ooo, and I could get a pink one! Maybe Coach makes one I could buy with all my savings!”
Yeah, wouldn’t work for me.
Its a lot like how I am with dieting. I lose 3 pounds and I think to myself, “Awesome! Now I can eat that whole cheesecake!” Or worse, I go walking for a half an hour, don’t even weigh myself, and think, “Ya know, I should reward myself for my effort.” And off I go to buy a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.
I’d really like the benefit of using coupons, but I’m just not that dedicated to the cause. Every time I heard one of the ECs say how long they would spend clipping coupons and getting ready to go on their shopping trips, all I could think of was, “I’m tired just from listening to this- I need a break”, and off I would go to make a cup of coffee and relax.
Shouldn’t I get brownie points for WANTING to save money?
I know I sound naïve, shallow, what have you, but I’m not. The idea of being able to spend -$50 on 10 carts of groceries sounds amazing, but it also sounds exhausting because at the end of the day, I would have to do that shopping trip with a 10 year old, a 4 year old, and a 4 month old. While trying to figure out how many tubes of toothpaste I have to buy to save $7, I would end up hearing why my 10 year old wants one he saw on TV and my 4 year old wants the one with Thomas the Train on it- neither of which, I’m sure, would give me bonus bucks or whatever. While trying to get the necessary amounts of Gatorade to save $1000, I would have to listen to my 10 year old tell me that he doesn’t like Gatorade, he likes Powerade, and my 4 year old would be asking me for Twizzlers… because he saw them as we shopped in the candy aisle when I went to buy the 1000 packs of gum to save $2000 off my purchase, but I wouldn’t buy them for him because it might cause my shopping trip to equal out to $.05 when I didn’t bring a nickel with me…
I’m getting tired just writing this.
In the end, couponing to save money for MY family wouldn’t work BECAUSE of MY family.
Or maybe I’m against it because I’m lazy.
Yeah, there’s always that.

Self Esteem? What’s that?

I’ve figured out that becoming a mom can really mess with your self-esteem.

Sure, you did something that no man could do- and kudos to you for doing it!- but I’m pretty sure- no, I’m positive- that if men were actually ABLE to give birth, the human race would have ended with Cain…

and I’m not so sure I would have blamed Adam in the least.

So, maybe boasting about my ability to run the race that is “labor and delivery” is less of an accomplishment and more of a walking, talking testament to my insanity.  When you really think about it, all moms are masochists.  Even if you didn’t willingly go through labor or a c-section- if you took the adoption route- you still made a conscious decision to let your heart walk around outside of your body.  If that’s not asking for pain, I don’t know what is.

And then, after its all said and done, not only do you have a baby to show for your efforts, but now you have many other “badges of honor”: bags under your eyes from lack of sleep, a saggy stomach, stretch marks, and swollen- well, yeah.  I’m actually in awe of the women I hear about with kids only 10 months apart- with them, for WANTING their husbands near them so soon after, but also with their husbands, for not being scared off.

Me?  I did everything but put up a barbed wire fence around my side of the bed.

Of course, my husband is wonderful.  He tells me I’m beautiful everyday.  I love his dishonesty.  Its like that song that says “Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies”- it NEARLY changes my perception of myself momentarily when I look in the mirror.

Nearly.

Until my  sweet, honest 4 year old climbs onto my lap and says,”I love how fluffy you are, Mom.”

Mommy Guilt

In the last 10 years that I’ve been a mom, the biggest annoyance I’ve found isn’t with kids that argue- although that IS annoying; it isn’t with finding the curdled milk sippy cups stuffed under the couch that I had told my preschooler to put in the sink…a week ago- though, that IS disgusting; it isn’t even with the constant battle over messy rooms.
No. The biggest annoyance?
Mommy guilt.
Its like a fly that won’t leave you alone.
“You should take your kids to the park!”
Bzz.
“You should be spending more time with your kids!”
Bzzz.
“Your kids should have nicer clothes!”
Bzzzz.
“You should be breastfeeding!”
BZZZZ!!!
Now, usually these statements that go through my mind are followed by the tiniest, most pitiful of whimpers in defense of my actions, and they usually all stem from me trying to do something for myself or something out of my control:
But its raining.”
But you’re trying to eat, sleep, clean, etc.”
But you can’t afford it.”
But your boobs were getting ripped off by that little creature and you look SO much nicer with a set.”
The problem is that they’re merely whimpers and its difficult to hear whimpers over loud, blaring THX surround sound volume.
Its a bit pathetic, actually. Personally, deep down, I know I deserve a medal just for keeping them alive. I mean, if you knew me, you’d understand- I don’t have a green thumb. Mine is black. Plants only come to me if they’re looking for a way to die. I’ve tried growing plants from seeds- they die. I thought that my problem was that I didn’t know how to nurture them into mature, strong, independent plants, so I bought plants that were already mature, strong, and independent. All that did was prove that I know how to take away the will to live from plants of all ages. In fact, I’m pretty sure I saw one plant take its own life when it realized who was taking it home, because it was slumped over the stake in its pot (describing the type of plant it was) as if it was trying to drive it through its heart. That one was brown by the time we reached my house.
All that to say, I’m doing a pretty awesome job of just keeping 3 kids alive and thriving, so I shouldn’t feel bad when things don’t go EXACTLY according to my wacked out fairy tale idea of mommyhood, right?
So, I’ll TAKE that shower so I’m not stinky and dirty looking! I can wrestle 5 minutes to myself. I washed my hair last week anyways.
I’ll eat that sandwich- heck, I’ll eat it at the table sitting down! Ok, that’s pushing it. The counter maybe. I’ll eat it AT the counter. A half a sandwich. Ok, a piece of bread! I’ll eat that piece of bread without fear of neglecting my kids!
And I won’t worry about the breastfeeding, bottle feeding battle!  If I choose to breastfeed, well, God gave me 2 boobs for a reason, right?  Isn’t one of them supposed to be a spare?  And if I choose to bottle feed then I will accept the consequences of possible BPA poisoning and psychological damages that stem from not having a mommy who gave him her boobs to give him life.

Oh, who am I kidding?
I WILL win the Mommy of the Year award!
Um, can you send it to the tired, dirty looking, boobless, anorexic gal rocking back and forth in the corner? Yeah, that’s me.