Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter Sunday

We had a wonderful Easter weekend filled with egg hunts and family and good friends and easter baskets and lots of candy. Here are a few of the highlights via pictures.

The Easter Bunny left lots of goodies for the boys including some Hot Wheel ramps. My little three year old is so cute. He runs around the house saying, "Hot Wheel, Beat That!"

My mother, father, sister, niece, and nephew came over for lunch. After a yummy meal of pulled pork sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, deviled eggs, baked beans, and some fresh veggies we hid some eggs in the back yard for another egg hunt.

My niece, Kayleigh (10), Owen (6), Ellis (2), and my nephew McKane (6)

Checking out their goodies.

Ellis is obsessed with trying to play baseball these days. My dad is a huge sports fan so they played outside for a little while. My dad even managed to rig a batting tee out of silly bands.

After a great day of family time the boys finished up the day with a dinner of some left over mac and cheese on the back deck.

I am truly blessed. I've got wonderful parents and some amazing kids. We had a great day! They make me smile constantly.

Life is good.

Happy Spring Everyone!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Some Days Are Better Than Others

Sometimes I feel like I am completely on my game. The house is picked up. - I've planned a healthy weekly menus for the family.- I get outside with the boys to exercise. - Work is exhausting but fulfilling and I leave on time knowing that I've finished my list for the day. These days are rare, but they do exist, somewhere.

Most of the time for me in my little world I'm pretty good at doing some of the above items. The last few weeks with work have been particularly stressful as we are down a manager and I'm doing double duty. But since my kitchen remodel is 95% complete I've been spending lots of time cooking. I love spending time in the kitchen. I found this amazing blog a few weeks ago and this past weekend made some wonderful cream biscuits and some amazing sweet potato pound cake that we're still munching on. So work is a little crappy but I'm on a roll in the kitchen. Somehow these things seem to even themselves out.

My children, on the other hand, aren't so simple to figure out. Some times they are the sweetest things in the world and make me laugh and smile constantly. Other days, they seem to test me at every turn. I'm having one of the ladder weeks with them so far. For example, tonight Owen asked to take a bath and I let him. I am trying to give him a little bit of freedom and when I go back into the bathroom to check on him he has filled the tub almost to the point of over flowing. (What's that old say, "when you give them an inch and they'll take a mile"?) Ellis has adopted the very annoying habit of meowing like a cat every time he sees me. Yes, I'll admit it was cute the first 50 times he did it, but now when he wakes up in the morning I would really just like a good morning kiss and not a meow and a lick on my cheek.

I know this all sounds silly, and to some degree it is. I'm thankful that I don't have bigger issues to worry about with my boys, but honestly, they are exhausting. I feel like between the two of them I am constantly fussing at someone for misbehaving. I write this now because I feel like I read so many happy comments from parents about childhood. Even the bits I've read where the parents are annoyed with their children they somehow turn the story into a sit com bit and the humor masks the underlying frustration.

So, here it is out there for everyone to read. I'll admit that some days, being a parent and a wife is really hard and I wish I didn't have this much pressure and responsibility. Yes, this is the life I have chosen to live, but sometimes it's hard, and sometimes I wonder what the hell I was thinking. And so, I confess, some days are better than others.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Day To Remember

While on Spring Break last week in Florida Owen, my six year old, and I decided to head to Disney's Magic Kingdom for the day. This was Owen's first trip to Disney and he was super excited.

On the ferry ride headed into the park.

Driving a race car all by himself.

Riding his first ever roller coaster.

Somehow he managed to get 999,999 points on the Buzz Lightyear ride.

He was asleep before we made it back to the interstate.

We had a great day! It was hot and crowded and the lines were very long, but Owen didn't mind. I tired to experience the day as he was experiencing everything. We rode the people mover twice because he wanted to. We had ice cream for a snack and ate chili cheese fries with orange soda for dinner. We ended the night on Space Mountain which was the perfect ending to a perfect day.

I know we'll go back as a family when Ellis is a little older but it was great to spend the day with just Owen.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Hardest Thing I'll Ever Do

I remember when I was pregnant with my first son. Several people told me being a mother would be the hardest thing I will ever do. My husband was told that being a father would be the hardest thing he would ever be asked to do. As I was experiencing the fear and awe of caring for a newborn child it was obvious that yes, parenthood is hard.

Now, almost seven years later, parenthood is still hard, but in a different way. When my children were newborns the main goal was to keep them safe and alive. Now, it's not keeping them alive but helping them become the people that they are going to become. I'm raising two growing young men. I want them to be good people. I want them to appreciate what they are given. I want them to be respectful of their father and I and their teachers. I want them to eat well and do well in school and say thank you. I want them to understand that I can't always say yes but not getting your way all of the time isn't the end of the world (or a good reason to cry). I want them to have a strong sense of right and wrong and to understand what it feels like to work hard to achieve a personal goal.

I wish I knew the right way to balance the need for Owen to be successful in school with the absurdity of giving first graders homework. I want the boys to eat their vegetables but don't know how much I should push them - am I causing more harm than good? I want them to be able to enjoy their childhood but think that they should pick up their toys and help around the house.

I suppose my point is that the struggles of parenthood probably never end. Maybe this is something that other people have already figured out, but it's just hitting me now. Now I don't have to worry about sleep schedules and bottle feeding. Now I have to worry about the boys tackling each other and hurting themselves. I have to worry about Owen learning his spelling words and brushing his teeth. It's hard, just a different kind of hard.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Great Spring Break - Part One

We've had a wonderful visit with Ed's mother this week. Here are a few of my favorite memories.

In Atlanta we can't get slurpies. The boys really enjoyed their Mountain Dew flavored treats.

The whole family really enjoyed the hammock my mother in law had in her back yard. I even managed to steal a few moments to read and nap in the hammock myself.

The boys also had a great time at the beach.

It rained one day so we met an old friend of mine from high school at the bowling alley.

It's nice to spend time with the family without the demands of our daily life interfering. No work - no house chores - no cooking dinner. We've spent lots of time just enjoying each other's company and playing together as a family.

I don't have any pictures but we did take a family trip to a local water park in Tampa, Florida. This was the first big adventure we've had with all four family members. I felt like it was a big test and we succeeded. Ellis was a real trooper and even managed to ride 3 water slides. Owen was extremely brave and rode every ride that was open at the park including the super speed slide.

Sometimes, there are no complaints.

Friday, April 1, 2011

We Made It

My oldest son Owen is out for Spring Break next week. We took him out of school a little early today and hit the road for the 500 mile trek to Grandma's house. We survived. We made it. It was a long eight hours. I think Owen must has asked, "How many more minutes?" at least 100 times. At one point as we were driving down Interstate 75 he looks out the window and in the cutest voice ever says, "Florida is so lovely". I have no idea where he gets this from.

It's very strange coming back to this part of the country. When I was 13 my parents moved from a suburb of Atlanta to a small suburb of Tampa, Florida. I spent five trans-formative years in this small town. During my three years in college I was back here often. I can remember a time when every neighborhood housed a friend, every restaurant represented a date and every store had a memory. So much of my adolescences was spent roaming the streets of this small town. The person I was and the memories I made are both faded. It's amazing how removed I feel from those times and this town now.

This town holds a lot of meaning to me. I fell in love with my husband as a naive teenager roaming these streets. I can still picture us roaming around in his mother's Maita, top down, stereo blasting Chemical Brothers or Less Than Jake or U2. I felt like we could take on anything and nothing mattered but being young and crazy in love.

Now, all these years later, I'm back here with my own two children. I've lived in Atlanta longer then I lived here but a small part of me still thinks of this place as home. I suppose a small part of me will always long for good old days of being so free. As you get older life starts getting in the way too much. You can't just take off at a moments notice to drive across the state. Now there are children to worry about and how much money are we going to budget for this impromptu trip and I've had a really hard week at work and am tired and don't know if I even want to leave the house for an adventure.

Suddenly I feel so old. I suppose that's what coming back home with your growing kids and a corporate job and a mortgage will do to you. An eight hour car drive where I am trying desperately to ignore the children is at least good for some introspective thinking, right?