The Family

The Family

Monday, October 26, 2015

Halloween Candy

Every year I do it.

And every year I use the tired excuse that I'm getting a head start in preparation for Halloween. I actually think I kind of believe that excuse, at least when I'm caught up in the frenzy of the holiday-goody-aisle.

I should absolutely know better than to purchase ridiculously oversized bags of chocolatey goodness weeks before the big day.

Weeks are far too long. And chocolate is far too tempting.

This year the bags remained unopened for about one day. And in all honesty, that's just because I forgot about them due to the top secret hiding place I stashed them.

Who would ever look for chocolate in the laundry room? The answer is nobody. At least I'm certain my husband would never search there since he seldom graces that room with his presence. Ahem. If he asks, I never said that.

I'll admit that I occasionally hide things from the other family members in this household. It's my duty as a mother. It's in the Mom's Essential Handbook somewhere, I can assure you. Every holiday, I feel the need to hide the candy bags from my children and husband because I know how gluttonous they can be when it comes to sweets. Give the kids vegetables and they're suddenly "not hungry" but give them sugar and they'll eat for days.

I am the mother therefore I am responsible for making decisions with their well-being in mind. Because we all know that kids aren't old enough to make wise choices when it comes to sugar. And husbands, well, they're like super-big, hairy children with no concept of sugar-overload, either.

In all honesty though, it is I who has been gluttonous. It is I who almost single-handedly finished an entire bag of assorted chocolate goodies--some of which I don't even like that much. I mean, if Reese's had been in that bag, it would have been completely emptied. And I wouldn't have looked back. I love me some Reese's.

Now, less than a week before Halloween, I must go and buy more candy to make up for the candy that I have so excessively eaten. Not only do I have a stomachache, I now have a few extra pounds to start off the holidays. Which is exactly the way I wanted to start things off! I'm sure you caught my sarcasm and if you didn't here is your disclaimer: I was being sarcastic.

I knew I should have bought the cheap bag of knock-off candy. But I hated to do that to the children. It's really all for the children, you know.

Plus, Mama hates the junk in that bag.

Monday, June 23, 2014


The Story of Keaton: (This is an old blog post but I was thinking about my last delivery so I went back and found where I had written about it. And it brings back horrific memories)

So, Keaton Gray is finally here.

On Friday night, we sat in the hospital room awaiting the results of my bloodwork—thinking there might be a chance we would get to go home.

When my doc walked in he instantly said, "Well, we're having a baby tomorrow."

So, that was that.

I actually felt a little relief in that moment because I was really tired of being pregnant and swollen.

Plus we were ready to meet our little guy.

Then, my doc busted my bubble of excitement by uttering the words I had dreaded hearing.

He told me my platelets were even lower now and I couldn't have an epidural. It would be too dangerous.

All these thoughts were running through my mind. “What? Did I hear him correctly? This isn’t the 1920’s…it’s 2011. Give me my epidural!”

But, I tried to act brave and simply said, “okay”, as if the thought of another human coming out of me while feeling the excruciating pain of it all didn’t bother me one little bit.
So, that was that.

I guess I was half-expecting it, since he had warned me on Thursday that this could be a reality.

But, I really think that deep down I thought it would work out so that I would get my beloved epidural.

So, I took a sleeping pill that night—because I wouldn't have been sleeping a wink without one.

The next morning at 5:00 am we headed to the delivery room to begin the birthing process.

Little did I know the process was going to take for-ever.

And it was going to suck. Really badly.

When we got in the room, the nurses began my IV.

Then, we waited.

My doctor wasn't going to be in until about 8:00 or so and that's when they were going to break my water.

In the meantime at around 7:30, they started my Pitocin to try and get things moving.

When, my doctor came in and "checked me"—which is a horrendous act in itself—I was at a one (crush my spirit) and the baby was still too high to break my water.
A one?

I just knew I was more than that. He must have made a mistake.

So, we waited and waited through contractions that weren't all that painful yet.

After several more checks I was still a one.


I never thought I would hate that number so much.

Finally at around 4:00 pm, I felt a painful popping sensation.

Then, the waters broke loose.

And from that point on, it was game time.

At least as far as my pain was concerned. But, as far as things starting to happen—it was not game time.

My heavy contractions started the minute my water broke.

The nurse came in to check me and what do you know, I was still a one.

A freaking one.

I wanted to scream in her face—even though I guess it wasn’t really her fault.

I was in disbelief and almost tears, because this "one" felt about like the four or five I experienced with Cale (right before they gave me an epidural) .

And this time all my pain was in my back lower half, which I didn't experience at all with my first child.

I hear that's called "back labor".

Whatever it is, it sucks.

As time passed, the pain got worse and worse.

I went from grimacing to self-consciously moaning to almost yelling.

I remember I kept looking at the clock as I slowly became more dilated...and thinking "I can't do this. I'll never be able to tolerate what a "ten" is going to feel like."

The hard thing is, there is absolutely no turning back. There’s no way to get out of the pain.

It must be endured.

Earlier in the day my husband had kept saying things like—"Oh I bet this baby will be here by early afternoon."

Then, when early afternoon came and went with no baby he said, "I bet this baby will be here by 7:00".

When 7:00 came and went, he started to make another prediction but quickly stopped when I snapped, "Just shut your mouth".

And apparently that’s around the time I got mean.

Through the course of getting from a one to a ten, I told my husband to "shut-up" repeatedly and to "quit touching me".

I told him I felt like I was "dying".

I slapped the phone out of his hand as he began to type a text.

I can actually remember being appalled when he picked up his phone.

It infuriated me off that he felt comfortable at that moment—comfortable enough to have a friendly conversation with someone—while I was lying there practically being tortured right before his eyes.

And he thought he was going to make a call.


The closer I got to a ten I evidently even tried to bite him a few times. The reason I say "apparently" is because the medicine they give you when you don't have an epidural—knocks you out.

This sounds great, right? Well, it only knocks you out in between contractions.

Every time a contraction started back up, I was awoken by the excruciating pain.

But, hey, at least in between I got some relief.

One of the things I remember thinking was how mad I was that fast food burger place that I was craving was going to be closed by the time I got this baby out of me.

Not that I was hungry in those moments, but that was supposed to be my reward for childbirth and I knew I wasn't going to get it.

Finally at about 10:15 or so, I had made it to the magic number: Ten.

It was time to start pushing. Really I had no choice because when you can actually feel the pain of labor, and it's pushing time, there's no denying it.

I don't think it would be possible not to push by that time.

Looking back, it's funny. I remember telling Carl early that morning that I hoped I didn't “let one” during the pushing because that would be absolutely mortifying.

It was a fear I had when I delivered the first child. But luckily, I was gas-free during that delivery.

Well, let me just say that a mere poot would've been a blessing.

What actually happened was a pregnant girl's worst nightmare.

Me and my husband’s marital relationship has gone to a whole other level.

A disgusting level.

I'll leave it at that.

Luckily the pushing only lasted about forty-five minutes or so.

Yes it hurt. It hurt very badly.

But I actually think the hours of contractions themselves without the pushing, were worse.

My mom would be proud of me. Throughout the whole ordeal, the worst "profanity" I uttered in those moments was, "goodness".

No curse words came out—even though I'm pretty sure I thought a few—or thirty.

At 11:01 pm Keaton was born.

I can't tell you how relieved I was that it was over.

Or so I thought.

Just like last time, the nurses scooped Keaton up and instantly started doing their thing. I’m not really sure what they do in those moments.

I kept trying to catch glimpses of him as my doctor sewed me up.

Now, the next part is probably TMI, but here goes.

About tem minutes after I had Keaton my doctor started pushing on my stomach to try and get the placenta out. Somehow this part usually gets left out of childbirth stories.

Maybe because, to people who have epidurals, this isn’t a very big deal because they still have some pretty good pain medicine coursing through their bodies.

But for me, it was a big deal.

In fact, I think this is an inhumane act. For real.

After about ten minutes of pushing, my doctor realized it wasn't going to be easy.

I had some type of problem with my placenta not detaching.

He told me I had two options at this point:

1. He could knock me out, take me into surgery, and do a D & C procedure or

2. He could go for it—push with all his strength—but it would be painful.

I don't know what I was thinking, but I said "go for it".

I guess it was because about a month after my first delivery I ended up having to have a D and C because I was having massive bleeding.

I guess I figured I didn’t want to do that again.

After about thirty minutes of extreme pushing, that was truly worse than the contractions and birth, my doctor gave up and told me they were going to take me into surgery to get a D&C.

I can remember my doctor apologizing as he pushed on my stomach and I cried out, all my shame and self-consciousness long gone.

I also remember feeling like a whiny little kid, thinking, "This isn't fair. It's supposed to be over. I'm supposed to be holding my little boy, enjoying congratulations from close family members, and scarfing down on my burger, fries, and coke. This isn't supposed to be happening."

Well, besides the cold, bright surgery room, I don't remember anything else until about 7:30 the next morning.

I remember waking up totally disoriented at first and coming to my senses and thinking, "It's over, it's actually over".

Then, I got really excited because I remembered that I hadn't really even seen my little boy. So, I woke my husband up and asked him to go to the nursery to get Keaton.

I think the second thing out of my mouth was, "We're not having any more babies".

Wouldn't you know the on-call pediatrician was making his rounds and I didn't get to see our little guy for about another hour.

And breakfast wasn't going to be served for about another hour.

Seriously ya’ll, they treat people better than this in prison.

But, it's over now. We're all home now as a family.

Childbirth is a memory—not quite a distant memory and still a little horrific--but a memory nonetheless.

I've been pretty uncomfortable since the birth, but hopefully I'll feel better in a week or two.

All-in-all, things are pretty great.

Mark my words: NO MORE BABIES FOR ME.

No more being pregnant, no more swelling, no more getting bigger each day, no more dorky pants that go up to my boobs, no more labor pains, no more uncontrollable gas—no more.

Our family is complete.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Camping for Mother's Day

Well, my husband decided that we needed to go camping on the Saturday night before Mother’s Day. Seeing how I just LOVE sleeping outside in the cold, on the ground, with snakes potentially crawling all around me and mosquitos biting me.

This was a great Mother’s Day gift! (Surely you picked up on the sarcasm dripping from my voice, right? I mean, I laid it on pretty thick.)

Now, I’m all about doing things with my boys. I love spending time outside, riding four-wheelers, roasting marshmallows. Just doing all those wonderful outdoor, country activities. We spend tons of time outside as a family.

I could never be accused of being an “indoor” girl. So don’t even go there.

But I kind of draw the line when it comes to sleeping outside. I just don’t like it. I love my bed. I love the smell of my house. I love easy access to a toilet. You know, the little things.

And it doesn’t help that the two camping experiences I had before this last one, have not been great.
Both were fine until it came time to actually go to sleep. On camping trip number one we slept on a blow up mattress that my mother- in - law bought for us at a garage sale. It was pretty cool because it actually sat on top of a stand, so it was up off the ground (which gave this snake-fearing- mama a little peace).

But what wasn’t cool is that this mattress apparently had a hole. So, every thirty minutes or so it would totally deflate and we would be left lying with metal bars jabbing our backs. And I was about five months pregnant so this was an added bonus.

My husband had to pump the mattress up with the electric air pump, which was really loud. He had to do it about ten times that night. There were other campers all around us, so I’m sure they weren’t too happy about that.

I literally got NO sleep that night. But at least that was before we had our first child and I could actually take a nap and catch up on missed sleep.

Our second camping experience was about a year ago. My husband decided we would take our, then three -year old, camping in the woods near my parents’ house. We decided to leave our one-year old at home with my mom and dad because we knew he wouldn’t do too well with the whole sleeping outside on the ground thing.

I tried to convince my husband that I would be much better off at my parents’ house as well. I mean, our one -year old needed me. But, he insisted that I must stay in the tent.
He’s so irritatingly persistent, that husband of mine.

On this trip, when it was bedtime we had to deal with a fussy three-year old who wasn’t used to sleeping with us, or outside for that matter. He cried and screamed, which wouldn’t have been so bad except that a friend and his son were camping in the tent next to us.

I spent the whole time totally paranoid that we were waking them up. (Which I’m sure we were).
It was pretty cold that night. We had borrowed an inflatable bed from one of my husband’s friends and it turns out this bed also had a hole. So we ended up sleeping on a deflated mattress that enabled us to feel every bump and rock on the hard ground.

I spent the whole night tossing and turning, nervously listening to the howling of coyotes that sounded much too close for comfort and a four-wheeler driving by that also sounded much too close for comfort.
Right in the middle of hunting season was probably not the best time to camp in the woods.

I spent most of the night fearing a stray bullet. And also the rustling of a strange animal right outside of the tent.

I woke up the next morning completely exhausted. And since we had two kids, I was never able to get that re-energizing nap.

So, this time when my husband said he wanted to camp, I tried my darndest to get out of it. I said I would stay until midnight and then go home.

I love the camping festivities. I just hate the sleeping

But, my husband can be very persuasive. (Or totally bossy.) And so I stayed in the tent--with both boys this time.

They actually did really well. They went to sleep pretty easily. Well, after a major knock-down drag out over the iPad which I brought so I could turn on a movie in hopes of lulling them to sleep quietly.

Well, my four-year had other ideas. He snatched that thing before I even realized and was playing Angry Birds: Star Wars… his newest addiction .

My two-year old, who is completely in the “ego-centric” phase tried to take it from him. Because I guess at two years old all things should inevitably be yours.

No matter who may had them first--which is totally beside the point, in his eyes. The point being — he wants them.

Well, when my two-year old starting tugging on the iPad and messing up my older son’s game of Angry
Birds…all heck broke loose.

Finally I got the iPad away and turned on The Lorax, much to the infuriation of my four-year old, who angrily turned over and said, “I’m NOT watching that movie. Humph!”

I think he added two or three more “Humph’s” at the end. I guess he was trying to make more of a dramatic impression. You know, really put me in my place.

The funny thing was, about thirty seconds after his last “Humph”, he was out. Totally asleep.
Our two -year old followed not long after.

Things were going pretty good.

My husband had actually purchased two brand new inflatable queen-sized beds for us. Yes, I said brand new. Not garage-sale or borrowed.

These beds actually stayed firm and inflated the whole night.

Some friends of ours camped out in a tent right next to us with their little boys, same ages as ours. The husbands stayed up and talked by the campfire while us moms got the “rewarding” job of getting the kids to go to sleep.

I don’t know what the heck kind of reward that was supposed to be.

Why does it work like that? I would’ve loved to sit by the fire and girl-talk for an hour while the men listened to the crying and broke up the physical battles that were occurring inside that tent.

But, nope. Not an option.

At one point, after both boys were asleep, I realized that I had to pee. Like, was-not-going-to-be- able-to- hold-it-all-night need to pee. I didn’t want to go right outside the tent because the men were still awake.

And I sure as heck wasn’t going to walk back into the deep dark woods and squat down, only to be eaten by a bear or wolf or more likely an armadillo.

So I was in a predicament. I finally found a Styrofoam cup. I thought better of it, but then decided it was the only option.

So, I squatted down inside the tent, and peed in the cup.
I actually filled that thing all the way up.

See I told you I would’ve never been able to hold it all night.

Then, I realized the problem with this. Hmmm, what to do with the cup. That is a wonderful question.

And I hadn’t quite thought that through beforehand.

Well, I could just sit the cup to the side in the tent but of course it would inevitably be knocked over in the night and then I would have to falsely accuse our four-year old for peeing in the bed.

What? I sure wouldn’t want to own up to that. And our four-year old does wet the bed on occasion so it would be totally believable.

Or I could pour it right outside the tent. But that doesn’t seem appropriate with us walking in that area.

So, I swallowed my pride, unzipped the tent a little, and called,
“Hey, Carl. Um, could you come here a minute.”

I handed him the almost- overflowing cup, to his horror, and asked him to go pour it in the woods. He told me that I was “disgusting” but then slowly walked, trying not to slosh, to the woods like a good little husband.

After a minute, I heard him call to the other dad. “Hey, come here and look at this!”
Thinking I was about to have to punch my husband in the gut for showing my cup of pee to our friend, and also wondering what the heck was wrong with that cup of pee that made it interesting enough to call his friend over to see, I lay there frozen in terror.

Then I heard my husband say that there was an armadillo and two baby armadillos right behind our tent.
See, I knew there was a good reason for not going into the dark woods to pee. I would’ve most definitely been attacked by a vicious mother armadillo.

I’m sure armadillos attack. I mean, they wear armor, for gosh sakes. Right?

Finally, I managed to fall asleep. During the night it got cold. I mean C-O-L- D.

My two-year old and I were on one bed, and my husband and older child on the other.

My two-year old doesn’t give off that much body heat apparently. I had covered us with several blankets and a sleeping bag but seriously it just felt like I had covered myself with ice- cold sheets.

It was awful. I cuddled and cradled him in an effort to keep him warm. And myself, I’m not gonna lie.

I held his little feet the whole night.

When we awoke early the next morning, I noticed his feet looked like someone who’d been journeying across the United States barefoot for weeks. Without a shower. They were black. I mean, completely covered in disgusting smudge.

Those “sweet” feet that I had been ever-so-lovingly cradling the whole night.


I desperately needed a shower.

My children desperately needed a shower.

It was time to go home.

Can someone tell my husband that a more appropriate gift for Mother’s Day next year would be a
reservation for one at a hotel.

No honey, I didn’t make a mistake. Just one. You understand, right?

Sometimes moms just need a little alone time. You feel me?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Three Years Old

On my way home from school yesterday I decided to stop at a Redbox and rent a DVD for our family to watch.

It’s been super-cold out so there has been pretty much no going outside for the boys.

And “inside” usually leads to trouble.

Much of the time, the trouble is in the form of fighting.

And screaming.

And arguing.

Between the boys—not my husband and I.

Well, at least not most of the time.

Besides fighting, inside also always leads to extreme boredom in our three-year old—who for some reason has not developed much of an interest in toys yet.

Oh, he’s interested—for about .5 seconds.

And he wants each and every toy he sees in Wal-Mart.

But then, almost immediately, the toy is forgotten and he’s on to bigger and better things.

Which in reality usually are bigger, but hardly ever better.

If someone had informed me a year ago that our (then two-year old) would still be getting into anything and everything at three, I probably would have cried.

Or ran away for a while.

I’m pretty sure it’s best I didn’t know.

If he’s quiet and hasn’t been seen for a few minutes, it is inevitable that he’s up to no good.

For example, last night during our family movie night, my husband went downstairs for a second.

Keaton followed, while Cale and I kept watching.

After about five minutes, my husband yelled for me.

And that pretty much always means that one of the kids has done something.

Keaton had barricaded himself in the pantry and was eating chocolate milk mix out of the carton.

And I keep that stuff on one of the top shelves.

But, there’s not a shelf tall enough to keep Keaton away.

We’ve caught him standing on top of a cooler which he placed on top of an overturned laundry basket in order to get to a basket of birthday goody bags that were hidden on top of the freezer.

Or so I thought.

So, in the pantry he had chocolate everywhere—on himself and covering the floor.

And in the midst of his chocolate-binge, he apparently needed to go to the bathroom.

But, he wasn’t about to end his sugar-high by stopping to go to actually go> to the toilet.

I think he knew it was just a matter of seconds before he got caught.

So, he went in the pantry.

And now the chocolate milk powder was mixed on the floor.

With pee.

Which just made it that much more of a joy to clean up.

And this behavior is pretty much constant.

This kid really needs a hobby. I’ve tried everything.



Tractors, trains, trucks, super heroes, pirates.

And it always comes back to meddling in drawers.

And we don’t even keep anything good in any of them.

The other day, our five-year old ran down the stairs yelling about his brother.

We went upstairs to find Keaton on top of the bathroom counter, completely covered in butt paste.

Like, head to toe.

The sink was almost overflowing with water and was filled with an assortment of items.

And I wasn’t even surprised.

Not really.

I know this phase will have to end soon.

Literally, it has to.

And I’m not even going to get started talking about the tantrums.

Three is the new two when talking about terrible—at least in our experience.

The other night, I referred to Keaton as “Chuckie”.

Surely you remember Chuckie.

And I’m not saying it was the most endearing nickname to call our baby boy, but I’m also not saying I feel bad about it.

He's scary. Cute, but scary.

Monday, January 20, 2014

These Things Always Happen to Us

About three years ago, I wrote a post entitled Poop and Run. Here's a snippet:

"So, one of my most embarrassing mom moments happened on our trip. The condo we stayed in had a nice, big pool and Cale loved splashing around in it. They also had a zero entry baby pool with fountains that was Cale's favorite because he was able to run free without the constraints of "mom and dad" holding him back. On about day three, we took Cale to the pool once again.

He wasn't really acting like himself. He wasn't "swimming" in the baby pool or getting under the fountains, he was just kinda standing there. This should have been our clue. I thought he was just tired with naptime being pushed back and his sleeping all out of whack. Then, suddenly I saw it. It was orangish brown and floating in the pool. It took me about three seconds to realize that it was coming from our son.

He'd pooped in his little swimmers and into the pool. And don't even get me started on swim diapers. Seriously, does anybody really think those things actually keep much of anything in? Not to get too graphic, but it wasn't exactly the kind you can just scoop out. Okay, I'll just say it. It was diarrhea. Horrified, I very nonchalantly,<b>
pointed out the mess to my husband, and I think we were out of that pool and back to our car in less than a minute.

That was so wrong--fleeing the scene of the "accident", but I panicked. I wasn't thinking clearly.

Diarrhea had clouded my thoughts--and the pool.

Needless to say, we didn't make any more trips back to swimming pool. Partly for fear of a repeat offense, but even more for fear of someone recognizing us as the "poopetrators" from the other day."

Well, that was then. But plenty of embarrassing bathroom moments have happened since. Too many, really. In fact, something may be wrong with our children. We should probably get that checked out.

About a month ago in Lowe's, we had another one of those endearing child moments. As we were walking the aisles picking out items for the house we just built, we noticed our youngest son Keaton. He was doing "the walk".

You know what I'm talking about, right? Legs spread so far apart he can barely walk at all. And it's more of a waddle than a walk.

And it can only mean one thing: I've got something really big in here.

Knowing that he had a giant surprise for us in his drawers--I started towards him. Right before I picked him up, it fell out.

On the floor.

In Lowes.

It had made it's way out of his pull-up, smeared down his leg, and landed with a plop (I'm sure there had to have been a plop) on the concrete floor of Lowes.

Frantically I began looking for the kinds of things that good mothers have readily available at all times.

Like tissues. Or wipes. Or napkins. Or a small baggie.

I didn't have any of those things.

Luckily my mom was with us and she scrounged up a tissue from her purse. And without a second to waste, she scooped that thing up and headed to the bathroom.

Fearful of a second round, we scooped our son up, and practically ran out of that place--probably leaving a smelly fog behind us.

I've thought about it a few times since. Mainly my mom's part in the whole incident. That thing was pretty big.

And that tissue was pretty small. And thin.

It must have been a really uncomfortable walk to the bathroom, carrying it in her hand.

Thanks mom. And I promise we didn't laugh about it at all.

Okay, maybe I can't promise that.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Leisurely Day Out With Two Kids (Snort)

A while back, my husband and I had an apparent brain fart and decided that we would try taking both boys to a movie. Our four-year old loves going to the movies and can sit through just about anything, cartoon or not, like a champ.

But then, there’s our two-year old. We tried taking him about four months ago to a new, very popular animated movie. He made it about twenty minutes. During those twenty minutes he wiggled, he made loud noises, and he bummed popcorn from the family sitting behind us who we happened to be acquainted with, thank goodness.

My husband had the brilliant idea that we should go watch Iron Man 3 in 3D at the IMAX Theater, in a town about an hour away. The IMAX Theater is a pretty cool experience, so I guess I let the thought of the ginormous screen paired with 3D graphics cloud my good judgment.

Well, when we arrived there was already a line coming out of the building. Because we decided to go on opening weekend, of course. Because we’re just smart like that. The only remaining seats were on the bottom row, second from the very front.

I literally could have stretched my arms and almost touched the screen.

Things were okay at first. That is, until the lights went out and the previews came on. I’ll tell you. There is definitely a difference in the persona of movie goers attending an animated, kid movie and movie goers attending a non-cartoon super hero movie.

They latter are not forgiving. I’m pretty sure I got disapproving looks before my child even started making any noises.

And before he even started making noises, I realized this was a completely ridiculous idea.

I had noticed that the ticket said the movie was about two and a half hours. Now, I didn’t think for a minute that my child would sit quietly for that long. Even if we did stuff him with endless popcorn, coke, and candy.

Well, after preview number one, I had to pull out the candy that I had hidden in my purse because we are too cheap to buy a $5.00 bag of “rip-off” at the movies. So we sneak our candy inside instead.

Don’t tell me that you don’t do that. You do, right?

Well, it’s pretty bad when the previews have only been going for four minutes and you already have to dig into your sugary-ammunition. There are only so many Skittles in that bag, you know? They need to be rationed.

Especially if they’re going to last through a two-hour movie. Which, of course there’s no way they ever would.

Keaton insisted on sitting in a chair by himself. He sat back with his little feet sticking off the end of the seat. There was a man sitting in front of him, on the very front row. He had leaned his seat back as far as it would go in an attempt to ease the strain on his neck, I guess.

Well, in doing so, Keaton’s feet were touching the top of his seat.

This was actually the man’s fault, since my two-year old son is about the size of a big cabbage patch doll. But I guess the man didn’t see it that way. He glanced back a couple of times giving us dirty looks as Keaton tapped his feet.

We tried to get our little one to stop, but my goodness, if you get a two-year old to actually sit down for any period of time you’ve performed a miracle. Asking him to sit and keep his feet completely still is totally unrealistic.

Not gonna happen.

Well, he tapped his feet once more, even after our warnings. (Imagine that.) This time the man turned around and said, “Get your kid!” I wanted to explain to him that he was practically sitting in my kid’s lap and that if a normal-sized human being was sitting in my son’s seat there is no way in you-know-where that he would be able to lean that far back.

Yeah, I wanted to say that.

But, instead I took that as my cue to snatch my son and bolt out of there.

As soon as we got in the lobby of the theater I felt the sweet relief of freedom. Freedom from the judging, disapproving eyes of Iron Man die-hards. Much of whom obviously must not have children of their own or else they might’ve had a little more patience for two-year old foot tapping.

Then, I felt the not-so-sweet dread of having to keep a two-year old occupied for over two hours, while my husband and oldest son finished the movie.

Luckily this movie theater is located in a promenade shopping center. But, unluckily I didn’t bring a stroller or anything (not that my child would have willingly sat in one). Shopping with a toddler is nearly impossible anyway. Shopping with a toddler, by yourself, and without a stroller, is dang near hopeless.

But, what other choice did I have?

So, off we went. On a “fun” shopping excursion.

After the first store, I realized that I wasn’t actually shopping at all. That wasn’t what this was. I was actually entangled against my will in this game of hide-and-go-seek with my toddler. As soon as he would get out of my arms, off he would go. I would frantically look around the store, sometimes spotting him.

Sometimes not.

If I didn't spot him, most times he ended up being found under a rack of clothing or in the dressing room. So, I resorted to holding him in the store.

Which is about as dang near impossible as taking a two-year old to the movies.

And try getting your items (none of which you had time to try on) on the checkout counter, get out your wallet, get your debit card out of that wallet, swipe your debit card, and enter your pin number. All the while holding a fairly heavy purse and a super heavy child.

A child who is in no way cooperating.

He’s trying with all his might to escape, like a wild animal that doesn’t want to be caged. He all but bit me. Even he knew better than that.

By the time I left that first store, I was sweaty, holding a purse, an agitated toddler, and bag containing items that I didn’t even get to try on. In fact, I wasn’t even sure what I had bought.

In store number two, my son tried the whole hide-and-seek game once again. But, this time he was pretty easy to find. In fact, all I had to do was sniff. Of course, he had a dirty diaper. And by the smell of things, it was a whopper.

So, we left the store in search of a bathroom. We walked all the way to the end of the promenade only to find no bathroom. So, we walked all the way to the other end of the promenade. Still no bathroom that I could see.

Finally we stopped inside a small ice-cream shop and used their bathroom.

When I opened that diaper it was just as bad as I had thought. And realizing that in an attempt to carry less, I had thrown a diaper in my purse and left the diaper bag in the car.

So, I had a new diaper but no wipes. Sweet.

This often is no big deal. At least when it’s a number one. But, a number two is a much different story. So, I got some toilet paper wet and began attempting to clean my smelly son.

After ten minutes we emerged from the bathroom.

There was a sign on the wall that read “Only Customers Can Use the Bathroom”. So, I decided we better order some ice-cream. It was our duty as law abiding citizens, right?

Plus I kind of felt like I deserved it. As we were eating our ice-cream I looked at the time, nervously. We still had an hour and a half. An hour and a half. Are you stinking kidding me?

Lord help us. Okay, Lord help me.

Realizing that we better not go to any more stores for a while I decided to let my son down to explore. But instead of staying in the grassy area that I had let him down in, he took off for the beautiful, perfectly manicured flower garden that is displayed outside the theater.

He was romping and stomping right in the middle of all the flowers. I kept yelling at him to get out. But for some reason he didn’t seem to hear me. Oh wait. I remember the reason now.

He’s two-years old and therefore NEVER “hears” me. Also, he's male. Yes, I said it.

As people walked by, some laughed at the sight of my son crushing flowers by the second. Some shot disapproving looks our way. And some had expressions of pity. Finally I had to climb in myself and pull him out, kicking and screaming the whole way.

Seriously. That was THE longest two and a half hours of my life. I will now cross “movies” off of the list of enjoyable leisurely things to do.

Just one more thing my kids took away from me. Along with any shred of youth and energy I might have left in this tired body of mine.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Embarrassing Moments in Wal-Mart

As if my multiple trips to Wal-Mart each week aren’t bad enough, sometimes I am even forced to take my children. Both of them. Shudder.

This most definitely makes shopping much harder and more painful. From the endless “No, we don’t need that. No, that’s too expensive. Put that back. Sit down. Put your shoes back on. Don’t hit your brother. Stop picking your nose. Use your quiet voice. Don’t sit on the bread!” to the out-of-the-way detours in a desperate effort to bypass the toy section.

It’s exhausting. And I get looks. Most of the time they’re looks of pity. It must be bad when we’re walking down aisles and people are feeling sorry for me.

Sometimes it feels like we’re a freak show.

And what’s really annoying is when I see a mom with her five or six children all sitting calmly in the cart and walking along peacefully with her. How in the heck does she do that? What kind of trance did she put on them? A sedative? That’s the only logical explanation.

And I feel like a big fat failure with my two maniacs yelling and bouncing.

Last Friday afternoon, we decided to head to Wal-Mart to pick up an assortment of popsicles for my niece Kenzie since she had her tonsils out the day before. We spent about twenty minutes perusing the frozen goody aisle. Both boys wanted everything they saw and kept forgetting that we were actually there to get treats for their cousin.

After filling our cart with frozen items for Kenzie (and of course some for our household since I often cave in these situations) we headed to the check-out line.

This line seems to be the place where my children lose it. I mean, they’re not great throughout the store. But, it’s like all heck breaks loose in the line.

And the candy. Oh the candy. At hands-reach. Little hands.

Well, in this line on this particular afternoon one of my most embarrassing mom-moments happened. I got all our items on the counter while at the same time repeatedly grabbing bags of candy out of my two-year old’s hands. I was so glad when the cashier put my last item in the bag and gave me my total.

We were just about to get out of there. Then, I reached in my purse to grab my wallet. And my heart sank.

It wasn’t there.

My mind began racing and I immediately started sweating. Then, it’s like the Heavens opened and I found my checkbook. Overwhelmed with relief, I quickly wrote a check to pay for our items.

I had our sacks in our cart, ready to go when the cashier spoke the words I secretly feared: “May I see your driver’s license?”

The license that was in my wallet—the wallet that was sitting on the end table beside my couch from earlier in the day when I made an online purchase. Stinking online shopping.

I had no debit card or credit card. I had no ID. So, I had to hand each bag back to the cashier.

Now, this sucked for several reasons. First of all, I had just endured a trip to Wal-Mart with both my children. And it was all for nothing. Second of all, we had been in the store for nearing thirty minutes. Third, it was a little embarrassing to have to hand my bags back. Fourth, I knew that we would have to make yet another trip to Wal-Mart as soon as I could get my wallet.

And the fifth most important reason this totally sucked was my children. When I handed the bags filled with popsicles and ice-cream back to the cashier, my four-year old instantly began crying.

Which, of course, made my two-year old start crying. They were both screaming as I started to walk away, dragging their limp, lifeless bodies out of the store as quickly as physically possible.

Then, my four-year old began crying, “I HATE Wal-Mart! I HATE Wal-Mart”.

We really were a freak show. They are never going to let us back in that place. My husband is going to have to do the grocery shopping from now on. Wait a minute, maybe that’s not such a bad thing…

I guess I could have told my son that really it was actually mommy’s fault (not Wal-Mart’s) because I forgot the money at home.

But I didn’t think that pointing the blame would have done any good at that moment.

When we got outside, both kids still crying, it was raining. Of course it was.

After a frustrated call to my husband, we headed to the bank where he works to get some cash.

And then, because there was no other choice, we headed back to Wal-Mart to repeat the whole process. I would’ve rather cut off my arm. But there still wouldn’t have been ice-cream or popsicles so that wasn’t an option.

We retraced our steps in the store, a little faster this time. I had chosen to wear some pretty tall wedges on this trip. We were going to dinner later that evening and I thought I would dress up a bit.

Stupid move. What was I thinking? I’m a mom. Wedges are never a good idea. My feet were killing me by the time we left Wal-Mart.

On our way out, as we walked through the rain, I spotted our SUV. But the weird thing was the driver’s side door was wide open. My first thought was, “Did someone break into our truck?”

Then, I realized that in the craziness of things, I had forgotten to shut the door.

How do you forget to shut the stinking door? When it's raining?

Two upset kids. A second trip to Wal-Mart. Rain. Sore feet. Deteriorating mom-brain cells.

That’s how. I really don’t think I’ll have any brain cells left by the time they’re teenagers.

I quickly got the kids in their seats, the bags put in the back of the SUV, and then sat down in my sopping wet seat.

We were finally done. I opened up a popsicle for each of the boys to eat on the way to give the get-well treats to their cousin. I didn’t really care at that point about the potential mess that eating a popsicle in the car would create.

And I might have opened up a popsicle for myself to eat while driving down the road. I deserved it.

I actually deserved a whole stinking, giant-sized banana split.

It was just a typical afternoon with two small boys. Makes you want some sons, right?