Being Mama.

I haven't blogged in a long time...mostly because, well, I'm the mom and I don't really have time to do anything creative, or that doesnt involve my kids. But, lately as i've been reading on Facebook i've discovered i'm not alone in feeling like i'm overwhelmed. Some moms act like they've got it all together...that their whole life just works out perfectly and it's all tied up at the end of the day with the perfect red bow. (I picture it like the one on the Christmas Mercedes commercial but that's another topic for another day.) I think they are probably lying to you, me and themselves, and those moms... I think one day they are gonna crack and come over to my side of the fence where we are honest, and tell people we've had a bad day. Where we admit that we don't have it all together and some days we are lucky to get out of the house with two matching shoes. My side of the fence is healthy. It's freedom. It's fun! Come on over!!!!! It's these thoughts that inspired me to write this:

Being Mama

Being Mama is hard. Its long days of being selfless, and not enough sleep. Its being a worrier. Worrying about your kids, about your husband, about your parents, the bills, the house, the dog. And not necessarily in that order. It's taking on more than you should and not letting enough go.
It's loving your friends kids as your own, and worrying about them too. It's being mama to everyone around you. Because, once motherhood has changed your heart, you can't turn it off and on. You feel for others more, you love others more deeply, because you now have a mothers heart...and you think "they have a mama, how does she feel?"

Being Mama is accepting everything is your fault. It's running late, its spilt orange juice in the car, and tardy slips that are "All your fault." It's forgetting to wash the favorite pullover so when the kid is cold.."Its your fault" It's forgetting bread and having to buy lunch on a day they "hate." It's not having anything good for dinner. It's 5 minutes late for cheer class. All. Your. Fault. And your okay with it being your fault if it brings peace in the house. Because in the end, being Mama means you want everyone around you to be happy, even if there is a little, fleeting sadness in you.

Being Mama is being tired. Never enough sleep. Never taking a nap. Never having peace and quiet. It's hearing your name countless times throughout the day from sun up to sundown. Most of the time, it's not in a sweet voice either. It's never having been to the bathroom, or in the shower without a little face popping in to say "Mama!" It's a never ending "to do " list.
It's a jam packed schedule and the ability to rearrange that schedule at the drop of hat...for an emergency, for a friend...Because even when you so tired you think you can't go on, being Mama is having the strength to keep going. To keep putting one foot in front of the other and doing it with a smile. Because all that matters, at the end of the day, is them.

Being Mama is forgetting. Forgetting passwords (there are way too many). Forgetting birthdays, anniversaries. You don't mean to, but there is just so much in your head! It's forgetting a snack, forgetting to check the mail, forgetting to pay a bill every once in awhile. It's having a hard time remembering who you were before the children. They completely changed your life and sometimes you have a hard time getting a glimpse of who you were before them. Thank goodness for the people who've been around long enough, and know you well enough, to remind you. When your with them, you get a glimpse of who you were before, the fun you used to have, but for some don't miss her as much as you would think you do, and this kind of fun is an all new, better kind of fun. Because it includes them.

Being a Mama is forgiving. Forgiving your husband for not doing things perfectly. Forgiving your kids when they say something that rips your heart out. Forgiving the mom down the street who doesn't have to exercise and eats Krispy Kreme everyday. Forgiving those people who may intentionally hurt your feelings, and those who hurt them by accident. Because mostly, when you
start forgiving all the little things, you start forgiving the big things...and you learn that Being Mama means you have to have a whole lot of forgiveness to go around but that you need to reserve most of it for yourself.

Being Mama is learning. Learning more everyday. Changing with the years as your kids do. Learning to accept that some things change, circumstances do too, but if you have chosen the right people to walk with you on this "Being Mama" journey, they don't. It's learning to pray whole heartedly for anothers happiness. It's learning to accept that having children meant letting your whole heart walk around outside your body. It's finally learning that maybe somethings aren't your fault. It's okay to forget some things. It's okay to take a nap, and it's okay to shut the door to the bathroom, turn on the shower and cry, just because your the Mama. It's okay to teach your kids that Mama cries too. Mama is tired's learning to laugh to keep from crying. Its learning that in the will always be learning, about Being Mama.

Why are you so tired?

So Sunday was one of "those days." I was so tired, and I could not figure out why. All I wanted to do was get in my bed and take a long nap with the dog. But, as you all know, with two kids, and said dog, and husband, and laundry, and, i rarely, if ever, have the opportunity to do such a thing.

So Todd made the unfortunate mistake of asking me "Whats wrong with you?" uh....wrong thing to say. "Whats wrong with me? Whats WRONG with me? Nothing is WRONG with me I'm exhausted by my life...that's what is WRONG with me!"

So in honor of all you Mama's...those who work at home, those who work out of the home, and those who can do it with a smile and not totally losing it, and for those of you, who are like me, who do occasionally lose it...i give you.

Why is Mama tired?

BEEP BEEP BEEP, alarm clock. get up, SNOOZE, get back in bed, get back up, let the dog out, let the dog in, open a diet dr pepper, take vitamin, jump in shower and forget to shave my legs. "MAMA!!!!!! ZACH IS HITTING ME!!!!" crap. didn't know they were already up. Let dog out, let dog in. Make breakfast. Crap! Out of milk. It'll have to be pop tarts or oatmeal. Get dressed, put on some makeup, hair will have to stay wet.

"wear this. no, you can not wear that. no, you cant wear camo boots to school. yes, you need a raincoat. no, you can not have four ponytails, no you have to wear socks, yes, you are buying your lunch, no, you cant take the silly bandz....please Mallory just wear the bow, please Zachary, just get your shoes on...Where are your shoes? What do you mean you left them at karate? Where is the other twinkle toe. No, you have to wear two shoes that match." Let dog out, let dog in, fill dogs water bowl. 5 minutes late, 10 minutes late, shoes. For some reason we are all screaming at each other about these shoes...

Get in the car, "I want Taylor Swift. I hate Taylor Swift! I want Big Time Rush! I Hate Big Time Rush. MAMA he is looking out my window. MAMA!!!! She touched my DS!!!! MAMA!!! turn on a movie. MAMA!!!!! She is looking at me!!!! MAMA!!!! He is making faces at me!!!!! Drop off one kid and i'm so sweet, "Have a great day baby, mama loves you." He says "Bye Mama, Love you too!" whew, some sweetness...Drop off other kid, she sees her best friend with no bow so it starts all over "You made me wear a bow! You're not nice! You always make me be embarrased!" Her teacher makes her kiss me goodbye because now she is mad at me and "not gonna talk to me ever ever again." I love you Mal, have a great day... "No you dont"..she says as im walking out...

Whew. Some silence for the drive to work. Dang, I need gas. Crap! I forgot my lunch, and my phone. Half way there I realize i'm still listening to Big Time Rush. Wait, is that Snoop Dog in the Big Time Rush song?

Work. Work. Work. Answer questions, answer emails, return phone calls, love other people's children like my own. Tired. Need a nap. I was up all night, Letting the dog out and letting the dog in. What will I eat for lunch?

Pick up kid, drop him off at karate, run to Walgreens, exercise if i have time, grocery store, forgot milk, back to grocery store. Pick up other kid. Drop off library books.Pick up from karate, come home, fight over homework now or homework later while I cook tacos, DANG! forgot cheese. Call husband to pick up cheese because "I cant eat taco's without cheese!" " I'm not eating this! Can I have chicken nuggets!?Can I have cereal for dinner? What about a piece of cookie cake? Cut the king cake! She ALWAYS gets the baby!!!! MAMA!!!!! Zach took a mandarin orange off my plate!!! MAMA!!! Mallory took a drink of my root beer so I hit her and she deserved it. I will not say im sorry cause I dont want her germs!" Choke down two tacos and and take the dog for a walk to try to get a little peace and quiet and three minutes later, two children come barreling out of my house. They are screaming something but all the words are running together. I keep walking. Maybe they won't see me. Late baseball practice tonight, better quit hiding, better go back. Put the dishes in the dishwasher, clean taco meat off floor before dog gets it. Check folder, check homework, check email. Feed dog. She's the only one who doesn't fuss at me. Even when i'm late feeding her. Talk to dog like she is a baby. Feel stupid cause I half way expect she is gonna answer me.

Bath time. "You have to take a bath." "Why? I didn't sweat today" "Because i'm the mom, that's why!!!!" Pick out pajamas, pick out clothes. Why? We will not agree on these choices in the morning. "Where did yall take off your shoes? Let's put them by the door!" Little eyes roll at me, and I pull the "I'm gonna go get your daddy card" even though i'm not sure why...

Bedtime. Everybody to bed! Watch one more Victorious, watch one more Power Rangers. Where is night-night? Where is lovey dog? "Please go to sleep!" "Night Night Mal, I love you!" "Night Night Zach, I love you." Night Night Daddy, love you." "Love you too, Mama" from Zach. "Love you too Momsters" from Mal. "Night babe" from Todd. Let the dog out, let the dog in. Put clothes in dryer, put new load in washer. Hope I don't forget those. Fold clothes. Hang some up. Put some on steps. I'm too tired to go up. Dang, I missed Glee! I've been thinking all day it was Monday.

One more pass through, everyone sleeping tight. Everyone's covered up. Even Daddy. One more tuck in, one more kiss even though they are sleeping. Turn on night lights, turn off tv's. Step on Hot Wheel. Trip over Baby Alive who starts talking and scares the crap out of me. Say things that my kids don't need to hear so i'm glad they are asleep.

Finally I'm going to bed, and im wondering.."Why am I so tired?"

Trash cans and Skinned Knees

You may wonder what the two have in common...but, if you live in my house you know, the two go together because on trash day, Mallory takes out the trashcans, and she falls down, and skins her knees.
But, still, there she is every Tuesday morning, while I walk the dog up and down the street, struggling and pulling those big ole Rubbermaid trashcans as far as she can down the driveway. I shake my head, and cringe and sigh and still there we are letting the same scenario play out every Tuesday morning.
- "Mallory, let someone help, you."
-"NO, I can do it myself."

"I can do it myself"... a favorite quote of those little people in our lives. My how I admire their perseverance, and their will. I wish I had it...just a spark of it. I wish I would keep pulling on that trashcan, even when it seems its got me totally pulled under.

And what about those skinned knees? Does that make me a bad mom for knowing the outcome and letting it play out anyway; Tuesday after Tuesday, there we are, putting a princess bandaid on a cut she will forget about the time we get to school. Being a few minutes late for work because this time we cried just a little bit longer. I don't know, I guess when we see the young woman Mallory turns out to be, we will know which affected her more, the Trash cans or the skinned knees.

My favorite song by Gary Allan says: "But the struggles make you stronger, and the changes make you wise." How true. What would make Mallory more wise? To struggle with the trash cans and to figure out for herself how to get them to the street? Or for me to jump in everytime and to make life easy for her? It's a constant conflict for a mom, a teacher, parents, and grandparents. Easy or Hard? Help or Hinder? Live and Learn? Which one builds more character? The struggle or the outcome?

I often joke that I am MUCH better with others people children, then I am with my own. With my own children; the behavior modification training, the patience, the calm voice, all seem to fly out the window, and I am just a mom, doing the best I can; like we all are. Juggling ALOT of trashcans...and sometimes I just leave them in the driveway, or just "forget" to take the trash out. But I think, what I should be doing, is to make myself keep on pulling, just like Mallory does.

But for now, I will keep watching from the street at my 5 year old pulling the trash cans, falling down and brushing herself off, and trying again. I'll keep my comments to myself and let her keep trying, because I'm one who believes that the struggles make you stronger. And i'll secretly wish that I had the perseverance of a 5 year old, that I didn't give up so easily. That I kept on getting up, and brushing off, everytime something bigger than me knocks me down.

Why I do, what I do...

Alot of times, people ask me why it is I love my job. It's really hard to explain because so many people can't understand especially when some days I am so frustrated. There are many things that frustrate me: uninterested parents, dirty children, neglected children, dirty houses, terrible neighborhoods...things I would love to change, and can't. But to me all of the things that frustrate me, also teach me. How not to be selfish, how to be content, and just down-right over joyed with all that I have been blessed with in this life, how to never underestimate warm bath water, and a pantry FULL of snacks and food, to appreciate transportation, and a nice house, and family and friends always there to help if there weren't those aforementioned snacks and transportation. So, this is my latest blog honor of the kids who would love to tell you, but can't...

Do You Know How I Live?

Do you know how I live? My house is not clean, and a lot of the time, there are bugs, and sometimes even rats inside. I don’t know the difference, and I don’t understand when you say you feel bad I live like this; because I have always lived like this. You wonder how I make it with dirty floors, and sheets, and even clothes, but in my world being clean is not really a priority. No one buys shampoo and soap and bubble bath in fun bottles and colors for me. We save our money for food, and electricity. In winter I hate taking a bath because it is so cold in my house. And, sometimes the water has been turned off, and sometimes the electricity.

Do you know how I live? Today I did not wear socks. We don’t have a washer and dryer and my mom has to walk to the laundry mat to wash my clothes. My little brother has been sick, and it’s been raining so she hasn’t been this week. I know its cold outside and I need them, but it is also another reason that we haven’t walked to the laundry mat. I don’t have a drawer full of socks. I only have a few pair and I am embarrassed to wear dirty socks because I’m scared someone will make fun of me if they have a bad smell.

Do you know how I live? In my house no one really talked to me when I was a baby, and because of this, my language skills are a little behind. Sure they cared for me, but in my house, no one knew the importance of introducing me to books, and toys that push, and puzzles. For this reason when I come to Kindergarten I am very overwhelmed by the sights and sounds and colors and symbols you call letters and numbers. I don’t recognize them. It’s overwhelming. Someday’s, it’s just too much. I know my name, but I have never seen it in print. I didn’t go to a daycare where they taught me to recognize my name on a cubby. We didn’t know it was important to teach me these things before I came to school. Now i'm really behind.

Do you know how I live? I eat at school. That’s it. On the weekends we do the best we can, but I count on the school to feed me. Sometimes I am so hungry I eat so fast and my manners are terrible. I don’t know about manners. I’ve really never sat down at the table with napkins in my lap and plates and forks set just so. We just don’t eat like that at my house. I can’t be expected to know something I have never practiced or even seen. A lot of times this is why still want to come to school when I am sick. So I can eat in the cafeteria. Here I get my own tray and no one fights with me for my roll or juice.

Do you know how I live? I LOVE recess. I need it. My neighborhood isn’t really somewhere where we get to play outside. When we do, I don’t have things to climb on or slide down or swing in. Those things are so fun and so foreign to me. They are so interesting. I guess that’s why I protest so much when we can’t go outside or when it’s time to come in. It is my favorite part of the day. It is one of the only times I don’t feel like I’m behind. Sometimes, it’s the only time that I can keep up.

Do you know how I live? There are going to be days that I act terrible. Just plain awful, but I need you to be patient with me. I need you to take a deep breath and understand that where I come from, my behavior is okay. I need you to help me understand WHY I need to behave differently at school, I need you to help me…period. Just be there for me. When you help me to understand I feel so much more secure. I want you to love me, like I love you.

I am 5...

My baby turns 5 next week, and in her short life, she has taught me much. First being, I have no control. At 6 weeks early, she was unable to breathe on her own, and thus as her mom, there was nothing I could do but watch the tubes help her breathe and feed her. That's hard for us mom's. We like to be in control. We like to fix things. We like to make sure we've got our thumb on whatever the situation is...but sometimes, we just can't. We can't do it all. Amazing realization. A mom, can't do it all??? This post is in honor of Mallory. Who teaches me everyday.

A Letter To Mama,

Dear Mama,

I am 5. I am opinionated, hard headed and sometimes downright unruly. This is because I feel alot and think alot, and sometimes I do those things better than I talk. I am unorganized. Oh sure, it may look like I've got it all figured out...they way I play with my dolls, and the way I organize my trucks, makes me appear to be a genius. But, in reality, I am unable to understand that you will be mad at me for getting toothpaste on the clean shirt I just put on. "So what? Its a shirt?" That's what I think. I have no concept of it being new or expensive. Sometimes, I talk like a little adult, but I'm not one. My brain is still pretty immature. It is hard sometimes for me to organize long sequences of information. I can follow directions with many steps by now, but sometimes...I may get confused. It's okay. I'm okay. I'm just trying to figure it out for myself.

I LOVE my things. Dolls, books, blanket...whatever it is, I love it. I am attached to it. It's okay. I feel a sense of pride in my ownership of things. I like to hold my things because it tells people it's mine. You may think it's silly how attached I am to my things. You know they are just things, but remember what I said earlier? I am not a little adult. I am 5, and sometimes my "things" make me feel better and bring me comfort, especially when I have to go long periods of time without seeing you.

I am active. I need to run around. Sometimes, when you see me and I'm just moving moving moving, it's because i'm so excited. Sometimes, its because I just have lots of energy and it has to go somewhere! Sometimes you say "whew, child! you wear me out!" Guess what! I am never worn out. If I am, I will go to sleep. That's the way I work now. If i'm up, I like to move, If i'm tired, I will go to sleep. Sometimes, you laugh at me because I literally MOVE in the bed until I fall asleep. But, please keep in mind that sometimes, especially if I have just turned 5, that this is why Kindergarten is hard for me. There is alot of sitting, and I like alot of moving. Especially if I am a boy. My hands work really well, but sometimes, I will still spill things and drop things, and break things. For no apparent reason whatsoever. It will help me, if you just say "Accidents happen." I like to draw pictures, and tell you what they are, and have you write that down for me across the top. I love to practice writing my name, but it's not perfect. That's okay.

You know what else? It's okay if I can't read yet. I can probably name all the letters and most of their sounds and that is great. If I am a girl, I have probably always loved books and loved to be read to, and always had alot of language. If I am a boy, I have probably always like moving, puzzles, and banging things. That's how we are different. Look at you and daddy. Daddy does not like long do. Daddy has a hard time paying attention when I am telling a long don't. Guess what! We are wired that way from the beginning. Boys will be boys! Of course, this isn't true for all of us 5 year olds, we are all as different as night and day. That is what makes being 5 fun. There is always something new to expect.

Oh the stories I can tell! Sometimes, I may make up what happened during my day. I'm not lying...just telling a story. Sometimes, I can't remember what happened. That's okay too. I love to hear stories, and I LOVE for you to tell me stories about when I was a baby. That is my favorite, because sometimes, I still wish I was a baby. Sometimes, I get treated like too much of a big kid, and I need to be reminded that I will always be your baby. Although I may not act like it, I love for you to ask me questions about my day. It let's me know you care about what I did. Teach me how to ask you about your day and I will! We can talk about it on the car ride home.

You know what I think is most important for you to know about me? I don't like it when you worry about what other kids are doing, and if I'm okay. I am okay. I'm me. Sometimes, we learn faster or slower than other kids. That's okay. Some of us really do have ADHD or ADD. That's okay. We will learn to adjust. Some of us are quirky, or funny, or silly, or immature. Its all okay.
I'm only 5. I've got a long road ahead of me. We've got alot to look forward to, so don't put so much pressure on me to be the big kid. I've got plenty of time for that!

I will be okay, as long as you are my mama and the whole family works together.

I love you,

Your 5 year old
Temper Tantrums, Bow Ties, and Twinkle Toes

Do you know about Twinkle Toes? They are very "fancy" shoes by Sketchers. They are bright, obnoxious, light up, and don't match anything, and Mallory loves them more than anything. I hate them, as much as she loves them, which makes for some pretty interesting mornings in our house when she wants to wear them for picture day. But, i've learned to let go the trauma of the twinkle toes...

Twinkle Toes have not been my first rodeo with letting kids be who they are. I learned this with a trial by fire with Zachary. He is his very own person, and could care less what anyone thinks. I admire that about him, but it can be very stressful when we are unable to find his cowboy boots before the grocery store run. When he was four he decided he wanted a bow tie. He wore it everywhere. My mom got it for him and it was his favorite thing in the world. Tshirts, button down shirts, sports jerseys, and superman pajamas, they all were all topped off with a black bow tie. Did I love him wearing a bow tie everywhere? Not really, but was it hurting anyone? was it a danger to him? to others? no and no.

When people find out I test and teach preschoolers for a living, they always want my advice on topics ranging from langauge ability to motor skills; but, the most frequent question I am asked is "What should I do with these temper tantrums!" Daycare workers, parents, babysitters, they all ask about tantrums.

Tantrums mostly (notice I did not say always) but mostly stem from frustration. A frustration with being in control, a frustration with a lack of communication, a frustration with being unable to do something or being stopped from doing something. This is where the "Bow Tie" and "Twinkle Toes" come in...ask yourself how much this matters. Is it causing harm? Will it cause harm to others? Will it hurt my child? Is it breaking a rule?

Would I have allowed Zachary to wear a bow tie everyday to school of they had a strict "no bow ties!" rule? Absolutely not! Children have to be taught to obey the rules. That's just part of learning to be a productive member of our society. Would I have allow mallory to wear her twinkle toes if her teacher said it caused a distraction in the classroom? Nope. Children must learn to follow classroom rules. That is part of learning to be a good student. Should I be concerned that the greeter at Wal Mart will look at me funny? No. That other adults will think i'm a bad mom? No. Those things, really don't matter.

Consider for a minute that you have behavior baskets. Ill give you three. In your "A" basket you are going to put all the things that matter the most for the health and safety of your child. In this basket are the rules that they HAVE TO follow all the time. Car seats, holding hands in parking lots, no wandering off, no talking to strangers, no riding their bike off your street. These are the things they will do, all the time, no questions asked. In basket "B" you will put those things that are important to you, but that your kids may or may not follow all the time. I would like for my kids not to drink Diet Coke at dinner, but sometimes its okay. I would like for them to brush their teeth everynight but we have been known to fall asleep. I would like for them not to eat chocolate cupcakes all day at Susu and Big's house, but sometimes that happens. In other words, it's the things you may talk about, you may discuss, but really, you can let it go some of the time. But to me, the "C" basket is what is most important. These are the things that are going out with the trash. This is where the Twinkle Toes, Bow Ties, and other things that really don't matter go. John wants to wear his superman pajamas to the grocery store? C Basket. No hairbow today? C basket. Your an Ole Miss Rebel but MarySue wants to wear her black and gold socks to school? C Basket. These are the things, that you if learn to let go of, may just cut down on those terrible temper tantrums.

I will be the first to tell you that the baskets may not be a fix for everyone. But, what I can tell you, is that when I started learning to let my kids be who they are, and actually put stuff in the "C" basket, I became a much better mom. I became a much calmer mom. I didn't feel like I was fussing all the time at my kids. I was actually learning to let things go a little, and you know what they say...The more you let go, the lighter your load. And just to make you feel better, Zach just came in my room wearing blue jeans, purple pool shoes, a bright blue shirt, and a black and gold USM hat for our run to the grocery store... C Basket Stacey....C Basket....

What can you put in your family's "C" basket?

Honestly, Im doing the best I can...

If you follow me on facebook, you know that my kids say some pretty hilarious things; and, ask me some off the wall questions. There are many times, when they leave me, yes, even me, speechless. Let me give you a list of my all time favorites.

1. "There are all types of mom's in this world. Mom's that cook, Mom's that clean, and then, there's you. Zachary
2. "Mama, would you like it if you were really skinny and pretty?" Mallory
3. "Mama, sometimes I think it may would like it if you went on a vacation." Zachary
4. "Sometimes when I go to my friends houses I wonder why their house is so clean." Zachary
5. "Mama, when im 80, will you still be my mama?" Mallory
6. "When I'm all grown up and have my own kids and wife, will you live with me, or will you live in the cemetary?" Zachary
7. Are there some days that you want to give daddy back to paw paw and grammy?" Mallory

You get the point. Kids are funny. They are honest. They are sincere in what they say, even if it comes out with a bit of a sting...(see number 2).

But what I love most about kids, especially mine, is that they say what they feel and they ask questions with no abandon. How many times have you felt like you were confused about something, not sure, unaware; but, you just didn't want to, feel like, or have time to ask for clarification? Kids get it clarified. They want to know. You can be honest with them.

I remember one weekend we were visiting our Aunt Marlene and Uncle Bob. Zachary and Uncle Bob are big buddies, and some months prior to our visit, Bob's dad had passed away. As Zachary and Bob hung around the house, I heard Zach say "Who's that Uncle Bob?" as he pointed to a picture of Bob's mom and dad. I cringed at what Uncle Bob would say... how would he answer this delicately to my then 5 year old? Would this turn into a deep discussion of life and death and heaven and Jesus? He had to answer perfectly. He had to be sensitive yet, forthcoming. Was I thinking to much, was Bob thinking at all? My mind, as a mom was going a mile a minute. Bob just simply said: "Thats my dad!" Zach, seeing a strange look on Bob's face, said: "Whats wrong?" (cut to me still freaking out) Bob simply said "He died and I miss him." "Here it comes," I thought...i'm not will I answer his questions, what will I say? But Zach just said "Oh, I'm sorry. You have me. Lets go ride the tractor" Bob just smiled and took his little hand and off they went.

I think about that story alot, because as parents we sometimes tend to get really bogged down in making sure what we say is perfect, when deep down we know there are really no perfect answers. We want what we do to be perfect, when we know there is no such thing as human perfection. I think we worry about asking all the right questions, giving all the right answers, doing all the right things...

As parents we will worry. But maybe, if we must worry, we should worry about being a kind parent, a loving parent, a Christian example, a present parent. We should worry about being a parent that is willing to say honestly... "I'm doing the best I can."

Recently I was having one of "those" days, and I was in a generally just bad mood. While I do my best to never take bad moods out on my kids, we all know that kids can be stressful, and when they are fighting, yelling, or generally just acting rotten, it can make what was already a bad day simply unbearable. I finally looked at them both and said "Look, mama had a bad day. I'm tired. I'm sad. And I need to tell you something. You are making me feel terrible with your fighting. It is making me so upset, I think I may cry." Silence fell over their little faces and there were no words (which is a miracle). There was no back talk. (another miracle) At this point panic set in. I said to much. I went to far....but Zach said "Come on Mallory, let's go outside so I can yell at you without making mama cry." I guess, that's score one for honesty.

Like I said....doing the best I can....

The Sun is setting on summer....

Schools out, the nights roll in, Just like a long lost friend, ya aint seen in awhile, ya cant help but smile....

Wow, do I love summer. Its hard to put into words what summer means to me, but i'm gonna try...maybe kenny will help too.

Our summer has been: a packed car, sandy towels, hauling the stuff to and from the beach, swimming till dark, learning to dive.

Our summer has been time with friends and family...which is by far, the most important.

Our summer has been waterslides, fourth of july parties, the Blue Angles and the Country Club.

But most importantly our summer has been lots of time. Time spent in phone conversations I don't normally have time to have. Time spent laying in bed snuggling, watching Spongebob or Dora, because we dont have anywhere to be. Time spent going to Chick-fil-a and McDonalds, and Books a million, and other things that kids like to do "just because" we wanted to. It has been having time to PLAY in a bubble bath because bed time is a little later. It's been having the time to read four books instead of two because i'm not worried about a 5:30 alarm. It's been not caring about TIME at all, which is such a nice change from the rat race and fast pace of a school year that bring activities, sports, and obligations. I guess maybe my love of summer just goes back to that which is the most very basic of things indeed....that we are built to be social creatures, and some of us, like me, over schedule ourselves and our children to the point where we don't have TIME to just be a family....or be a good friend, or a good neighbor, and these weeks of summer give us some time to do just that. Catch up on the things which we feel we have neglected...I hope I have!
Here's to our super summer, and lookin forward to a happy fall....y'all!

Seven Years!

My baby is 7. My how time flies. He is growing up so fast, and he is getting taller and smarter by the day it seems. First grade has been really good to him, (and us) and he is trying his hand at becoming a little more independent with each passing week.

Zachary is sweet, and caring, and although a bit OCD; his ability to focus on a goal and reach it is something i already admire in him. He is precious, thoughtful and gets really excited about somethings, and really upset about others, but that ability to feel passionate about something is something to admire as well. He is senior blue belt tae kwon do, and coach pitch baseball. He is blond haired, dark skinned, bike riding, and friend loving. Mama's boy. Daddy's buddy. Big brother, cousin, grandson, great grandson, friend, "zach attack", "rufus", "babysitter zach," austin davis, and brett favre's biggest little fan. He is awesome. wonderful. precious.

My first born, my "little angel" daddy's "little punkie pie," all grown up into big boy.

Happy Birthday to my baby girl. My test of faith preemie baby, my spitting image. My talks tough, hugs 'tight-tight', sassy mouthed breath of fresh air. Bringer of joy, love, concern, and sometimes tears. Smart, funny, but occasionally smart mouthed. Sister, daughter, cousin, grand-daughter, great granddaughter, niece, grand niece, best much to so many. Princess, Babies, and Dora loving little girl. Mama's angel, Daddy's "little pretty". There is only one Mallory and I am so thankful that she is mine! She is one of a kind. Unique. Precious in His sight.