Monday, January 30, 2012

Luck of the Irish

I decided to make an impromptu visit to Wal-Mart this evening after dinner. Spiro's teacher had mentioned in passing, the last time I was volunteering, that she was running low on a few supplies likes crayons and dry erase markers in her classroom and I thought it might be a kind gesture to send in a few packages of both items. As we were packing up to leave Spiro asked if he could wear my button, and I figured sure, no problem, wear the button without paying much attention to him. He found an old name tag of mine from my first job out of college a few weeks ago and sometimes likes to wear it on his shirt. So, I packed the kids up, explained to both of them the game plan and the behavior that I expected out of each of them and out the door we went.

Billy fell asleep during the car ride there which is basically the equivalent to him growing horns and fangs because he is a nightmare to wake up. My normal protocol is to attempt to gently wake him and then get the hell out of dodge, but I was limited by the fact that we were in the Wal-Mart parking lot. I hoped for the best, woke him up and announced in my most excited, mommy voice - "Wake up, we are at Wal-Mart!" He proceeded to scold me and tell me that I "never let him sleep" but I just tried to remain positive and let him know that Mommy hasn't slept in about 7 years and off we went.

We picked up everything we needed and a few items that we didn't but all things considered, both the boys were pretty well behaved throughout the store. Even the nice, little old lady who checked me out commented what nice sweet boys they were being and that she really liked Spiro's button. I told her thank you and that yes, he has really grown fond of my old name tag and likes to wear it out a lot lately.

When we got home, we went through our normal routine of putting shoes away and hanging up coats... and that's the point that my heart sank and I realized what "button" the nice, little old lady was referring to.

You can see my old name tag on the right but just in case you can't see his "other button"...

Yup, that's right.  Apparently he found this little gem earlier today in one of my drawers. I explained that this button is not a button for children and asked if he had been wearing it the entire time in Wal-Mart and he said "Yes Mommy, the lady at the checkout liked it." As proud as I am that he wanted to flaunt his Irish heritage I think I may need to explore an alternate outlet for him to do so. However, to be quite honest, "Irish I Had A Beer" too.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Operation Cease Telemarketers

My husband and I recently began the process of putting our house up for sale again (which I am sure you will hear plenty about) and being the conscientious buyers we like to think that we are, we contacted our mortgage broker to receive one of those nifty pre-approval letters to submit to a seller when we start to look for a new house. Now I am not exactly sure how, but I suspect that because our credit reports were pulled, other mortgage companies also now know that we have been pre-approved. For the past week, we have been bombarded with NON STOP phone calls from these "competing" mortgage companies and when I say NON-STOP, I had one mortgage company call me 10 times in one day. Multiply that by several other companies also calling us, and you begin to feel our frustration. Even the children are beginning to become a little resentful and keep asking me why our phone is ringing all the time. So the other day, after two phone calls in the 45 minutes I was getting Spiro ready for school in the morning, the wheels in my head started turning.

Now I'm sure that many of you would just pick up the phone and tell the person on the other end that you are not interested and to stop calling but that's just not the way I roll. First and foremost I am horrible with negotiating or dealing with any type of sales people, that's more the hubby's territory. He never minds being bad cop and I like being good cop in these situations, so it kind of works out perfectly.  I don't know what it is about sales people, they just make me nervous and then the next thing you know I have 15 magazines in my mailbox that I never wanted, a "hoveround" that really isn't practical because there is no place for the kids to sit and bottles of Pro-Active showing up at my door step every month. Even the nice old lady that calls from Purple Heart or The Salvation Army can send me into an anxiety ridden tailspin and then I am running around my house trying to fill up a bag to throw on my front porch because I just couldn't say "no, I am sorry, I don't have anything donate". Call me naive, gullible or whatever, but I just seem to cave when these people corner me on the phone.

So I knew that talking to them was not an option, and I didn't want to be mean, but I still wanted to get my point across. I hatched a plan and enlisted the help of the boys. I decided that instead of myself getting suckered into a conversation with the telemarketer I would pass the phone off to my 6 year old, Spiro. (Realistically, he's probably the one who should be talking to them anyway, considering he is the maturest one in the family). I thought it was quite a clever concept myself. We practiced throughout dinner that night to ensure that we would be prepared for the barrage of phone calls we have come to expect each evening and then wouldn't you know it, all the phone calls stopped. Not one phone call in the days following. I knew they were just waiting to strike, so I kept the kids focused and mentally prepared for the challenge. I made sure Billy memorized the lines as well, as a backup in case Spiro chickened out. We practiced in the car, during lunch... and when they came a calling, we were going to be ready.  Low and behold, a few days later we saw that familiar phone number on the Caller ID and Operation Cease Telemarketers went into full affect.

The following is the dialogue from that conversation. Feel free to use our tactics as you see fit and/or share with others who may also find themselves in a similar predicament.

Me: Hello
Telemarketer: May I speak with Mrs. A
Me: This is Mrs A.
Telemarketer: I am calling to offer you a great mortgage opportunity.
Me: Maybe it's best if you speak to my "financial advisor", he just so happens to be right here.
Spiro: This is Mrs. A's  financial advisor. What kind of interest rate are we looking at?
Telemarketer: BLAH BLAH BLAH
Spiro: That's highway robbery, I could get better rates from a loan shark.
Telemarketer: BLAH BLAH BLAH
Spiro: Look, if you can throw in a few Nintendo DS games to sweeten the pot, I might be able to make this deal happen
Telemarketer: BLAH BLAH BLAH
Spiro: I think it would be best if you contacted me at my office, my number is 867-5309 and my assistant's name is Jenny.
Telemarketers - 0                                      Mommy - 1

Ball's in your court Mortgage Companies.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Letter to Children's Programming

Dear Nickelodeon, PBS, Sprout...

First and foremost, I would like to say thank you for entertaining my children to allow me to fold laundry, sweep, cook, clean..., or lock myself in the bathroom to have 5 minutes of peace of quiet. It is very much appreciated.

Secondly,  My children have hijacked my television and it seems that you are on all day long and since I am unable to stay awake for the 11 o'clock news,  I would greatly appreciate it if you could place one of those fancy "news tickers" on the bottom of the screen that I see so frequently on news and sports channels. This would be of great help to ensure that I know what the hell is going on in the world. Last week, I found out several days after, that a Cruise ship had been sinking and today, I was shocked to find that it had snowed last night, which apparently everyone else had been aware of . Don't even get me started on politics, because at this point I am lucky to know who our current president is.  Thank you in advance for your kind consideration of this matter.

Secrets of an Almost Supermom

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Soul Sistas

“It’s not where you are in life, it’s who you have by your side that matters.” — Unknown

My best friend's husband was riding in the car last year with their 6 year old son, listening to the song "Hey, Soul Sister" by Train. Her son asked  her husband what a "Soul Sister" was, and he explained how his aunt and mommy (my best friend) were sisters because they shared the same mommy and then said "but you know how Ms. Shannon and Mommy talk to each other about 10 times a day but don't share the same mommy? well, that would be Mommy's soul sister." Although I don't think that was the kind of  "Soul Sister" train was referring to, I chuckle every time I think about this story. It makes me smile and makes me feel lucky that I have a "Soul Sister". So going forward, when speaking of my best friend Sara throughout this blog, she will lovingly be referred to as my Soul Sister.

My Soul Sister and I go way back. We have been close friends since high school and even lived together in college. As our lives progressed into adulthood, ours seemed to take parallel paths. We married within months of each other had children within months of each other and lost our sanity together at the same time.

Motherhood is hard, it's not easy and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying (or heavily medicated all the time). It has so far, included my biggest accomplishments but at the same time my biggest failures. Believe me, I fail a lot and I am not afraid to admit it. When friends call me Supermom, I feel like Oz, "No one pay attention to the man behind that curtain". In short, it's an illusion at times. If you see us at a birthday party, the kids in nice ironed clothes and me actually showered with make-up on, know that it took me the whole morning to get everyone clean, dressed and out the door.

My Soul Sister talks me off the ledge on those days when I feel like I am failing most. We have a competition called Worlds Worst Mom and we like to call each other and bump the other out of the #1 spot. As of right now, I think I hold top honors with my performance this year of driving all the way to Spiro's elementary school when I actually needed to be at Billy's preschool to pick Billy up. The sad part... I passed by Billy's preschool on my way to the elementary school.

We spend a good amount of time on the phone each night making completely inappropriate jokes about being a mother that only we would get. (and praying that Child Protective Services is not listening in)  We discuss the really important, unattainable things in life like taking a shower on a daily basis, wearing heels again, and the luxury of sleeping through the night. She is one of the only people that knows the "true mommy" in me, the one that loses her patience and doesn't always feel all warm and fuzzy about motherhood every minute of every day. The mommy that feels defeated at times and can't believe she has been allowed to raise children. Our phone conversations rarely consist of completed sentences that are not interrupted by a screaming child or a yelling mother saying "stop that", "get down" or "this thing, I am holding to my ear, is  a telephone" but some how through all that, they still reach my soul. After all, that's what Soul Sisters are for. She is the one who sent me a card to cheer me up, even though she was at her darkest hour with a sick child But hey, that's what Soul Sisters are for and when her mom was fighting for her last days of life, I didn't wait for her to ask, I just showed up at her house and listened because that's what  Soul Sisters are for. She is the one that I call exhausted and overwhelmed and doesn't make me feel weak for admitting it but reaffirms that I am not alone and that she too is failing, treading water, and not sure if she is "doing it right" either.

I detest showy, bragging parents. I can remember taking Spiro to his 3 year old preschool open house and a mother inside bragging to the teacher about how her little girl knew her entire alphabet in english and spanish, yada, yada, yada... All I can remember is chuckling to myself, and thinking  I hope your kid isn't playing with my kid. I want to be around parents who are real. Who aren't afraid to say, you know what, I have absolutely know clue what I am doing either and I am flying by the seat of my pants.

It is so important for us as mothers to have a person or place to share our insecurities and doubts and not feel weakened for it . There are times when my Soul Sister and I share ours with our group of friends who don't have children yet and there look of horror is priceless but we just look at each other and know that we were much better mothers before we had children too.  I have never forgotten the cashier at my local grocery store who took pity on me as I was trying to check out $300+ worth of groceries with a screaming newborn on my chest and a very impatient 2 year old at my side, and instead of giving me a look, she quickly checked me out, told me I must have forgotten my 20% off coupon which she applied to my account and found someone to help me to my car. If I was too frazzled to properly show my gratitude that day, "Thank you, kind cashier lady, for helping a sister out and letting me know in your own way that I was not alone." My challenge to all of you is the next time you see or hear a mother struggling, find your own way to let her know that she is not alone, make a joke, help her to car, grab whatever it is that she is trying to reach for but can't because maybe she has a baby on her hip. Tell her "yeah, it really sucks sometimes, this motherhood thing" because after all, that's what "Soul Sisters" are for...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Trump Card

Well everyone, first and foremost I would just like to say GO RAVENS!!!!! If you read my post Play Calling, you know that Hubby and I went to the Ravens vs Texans playoff game on Sunday. (If you haven't you can do so here) We had a fantastic time!We were both at our restaurant Saturday night and didn't get home and in bed until about 4am but we were up by 8:30am, like 2 kids on Christmas morning. I am also proud to announce that I have effectively brainwashed my children when it comes to football and Billy made his Mama proud today when he proceeded to scream  "GO RAISINS" (close enough for me) from his backseat window when we stopped at red lights. For the record, he also does quite a "move those chains" arm pump and is currently perfecting his touchdown dance.

My husband and I have been season ticket holders for the past 10 years and started our tradition of attending the games together in 2002. Although soccer is my husband's first love (we won't hold that against him, he grew up in Greece), he has become quite the fanatical Ravens Fan. We went to nearly every single home game until I became pregnant with Billy in 2007. Going to the game was and has always been "our thing".  When we first purchased our season tickets, my husband owned a 24/7 diner in Baltimore and we would work all night until about 7am and then go home shower, change into our Raven's gear and head to the stadium. We never cared how tired we were and we always looked forward to those 8 afternoons that we spent together each year, screaming and rooting for our home team. After having Billy and opening a new restaurant, all within months of each other, our lives changed and became more hectic, as they often do. As sad as it was for us, we realized that we would need to take a break from attending our beloved Raven's Games, to be at our restaurant on Sundays which had only been open a few months and was building quite a Sunday football customer base. In short, we did the "adult thing", the "responsible thing" and even though we both knew that it was the right decision, it certainly didn't make it easier to watch Ray Rice break a run or Terrell Suggs sack a quarterback on television rather than from the stands.

We sold the entire season's tickets to my old boss for 4 years straight. This year was the first year that we kept our season tickets and we were able to attend 2 regular season games and the playoff game yesterday together. As the season was nearing its end this year, and a home playoff game became inevitable rather than a dream, I offered myself up as the sacrificial lamb and said I would stay at the restaurant and make sure things went smoothly and he could go to the playoff game with a person of his choosing. However, if there was to be a second playoff game at home, that one was mine for the taking and he would have to stay back. This really was a genuine offer and the fact that I was possibly going to gain a "trump card" from the scenario was a bonus. (I prefer to have a trump card at all times but I kind of used my last one a few months ago and I have been keeping my eye out for a "trump card situation" ever since.) For anyone who doesn't know what a "trump card" is in marriage, it is a time when you maybe took one for the team for your husband, or he did or said something really stupid but instead of flipping out you are the "understanding wife" and let it slide and instead just file that bad boy away as your trump card to be used at a later date when you really need to get through to your spouse about something. In a few severe cases you may even be able to gain 2 or 3 trump cards. Which reminds me of a funny little story.  In 2000 my Dad had played his last trump card on my stepmother to attend the Ravens first (but certainly not last) Superbowl appearance. Fast forward a few years, and my stepmother had purchased a beautiful brand new car that she was absolutely in love with. She allowed my father to "borrow" her car to meet a few of his buddies out one night with the urging that he be careful and not smoke in her car. The following morning she woke up to a heavy down pour and didn't think much of it, until she went to get in her car.  There she found, what was the equivalent of Noah's Ark inside her car. Allegedly, he had left her sunroof open, and the night's rainfall had collected nicely inside her car. Her cup holders were filled to the rim, her leather seats and carpeting were completely soaked and the new car smell had definitely been washed away. I didn't know whether laugh or cry for her and to top it off, we all quickly realized that the reason my dad had even had the sunroof open at night was because he was smoking in her car and was attempting to air out.  Although the situation was horrific, this is the stuff trump card legends are made of and she definitely gained some in the double digits that day. Even now, several years later, you can feel the tension a rainy day brings to my father and when my son asks me if the rumbling in the distance is thunder, I tell him "no, that's just GiGi shuffling her trump cards". This type of scenario is going to happen few and far between and your definitely playing against the odds to wait for one of these times to come around. Now, a trump card ladies and gentlemen is to be used sparingly, and I repeat SPARINGLY, because as you can see, it may take you a few months or even years to get one back. I can usually bank on about 1 a year from my husband, but my father, on the other hand, never has recovered his trump card. So, enough about trump cards and back to the playoff game discussion with my husband. After I offered to stay home for the first playoff game, I was definitely expecting a good amount of gratitude from him (along with a trump card) for being the first to offer to sit this one out. He instead claimed that it wouldn't be fair because if we did have a second game at home it would be the AFC Championship (I was also aware of this). Being the quick thinker and savvy trump card holder that I am, I retreated once again and offered to go to the first game and he could take the second game, if there was one. He was not happy with this agreement either, stating that if there wasn't a second game, that would mean he wouldn't go to any.  I knew at this point, we were no longer in trump card territory and that he had no intentions of handing one out.  I told him that he was going to have to take a risk somewhere because I was not agreeing to sit out both games. He was not willing to take either risk and our manager was willing to work, so we both went to the game.

We really did enjoy the day's festivities at the game and ultimately neither of us truly wanted to go without the other. Being at the game with my husband reminds of that carefree time in our life that we had before mortgages, kids, bills, schedules, PTA meetings... A time when we were just a couple, not Mommy and Daddy.  As much as we adore our family and our lives now, it really is refreshing to visit that place and take an afternoon to just be "us". Win or lose, we always enjoy ourselves at every game we have been to over the years and although we don't do it nearly enough, it's nice to know that we can find our way back to being just the two of us on any given Sunday.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Goldie Got Dead

I am not sure about anyone else with more than one child, but my children are complete polar opposites. You know, night and day, yin and yang, light and dark... I know that you are suppose to treat your children the same but I really believe that this is a disservice to them. How can you parent two children the same if what makes them tick is completely different? Don't get me wrong, I love my children the same, there are no favorites. However, I don not think it is fair to either of my boys if I parent them the same.

Spiro, my oldest, is extremely sensitive, takes everything to heart, strives to please everyone, and even though his chronological age is 6, he really is about 42 years old. I can remember at my six week check up with my midwife, her first thought upon meeting him was "what an old soul". I am not sure why that meeting embedded in my brain, but that is exactly what Spiro is, an old soul, wise beyond his years. The ongoing  joke is that we would like to be like Spiro when we grow up. He is the safe one, the follow the rules one, the one that needs constant praise for a job well done and the one who thrives from routine and struggles with change.  He seemed to be very content in my belly and entered this world a week late after 16 hours of labor via Cesarean, he had decided that he was comfortable in there and wasn't about to come out into the cold world and I can't say that I blame him. When he was younger, before I had been blessed with my second, we would be at a store and I would see another mother struggling with a child about his age. The other child would be in full tantrum mode, kicking and screaming, crying, throwing himself on the ground and I would think wow, I wonder what she's doing wrong? and, then I had Billy...

Billy, is my youngest, he is charismatic, charming, a risk taker, a leader, and is not looking to please anyone. At 4 , he has a hard time separating from me at times, but I have a sneaking suspicion that will come to an end one day in the very near future. He is ready to take on a new adventure at any time and stuff just doesn't "get" to him.  He is the one who is willing to try anything once and the one that when he gets something in his head, nothing is going to stop him. He entered this world two weeks early, after 5 hours of labor and 3 pushes. That was it, he was ready to take the world by storm. He did everything early, he was crawling by 6 months, walking by 9 and climbing out of his crib by 18 months. I can remember being at his 9 month check-up and assuring the pediatrician that something must be wrong because he was still getting up 4 times a night and Spiro had started sleeping through the night by 8 weeks old. She assured me that he was fine and that I was lucky with Spiro. He never did sleep through night consistently until he was about a year and a half. All experience, I had as Spiro's Mommy,  was out the window and I was starting from scratch because Billy was not Spiro.

Our fish Goldie kicked the bucket a few weeks ago. In the midst of the holiday chaos, I may or may not have forgotten to feed him after I moved his location from our kitchen desk to our office. Now for all the animal rights activists out there, call the dogs off. I adore animals, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, worms, lightning bugs... and in my defense Goldie was 2 years old and as I told the boys quite "elderly". With no clear cause of death from an autopsy, (we elected to hold a small, closed service in our powder room) there is no proof that I am at fault. It was an honest oversight, I mean, I didn't forget to feed the kids or the dog so I guess 3 out of 4 ain't bad, right? Unbeknownst to me, I sent Spiro in to discover the dead fish when I asked him to run up to our office and feed him. I am sure he will be discussing this along with many other things in therapy in about 25 years. To say he "took it hard" is an understatement, he was basically inconsolable for about 2 hours. Between the "my life will never be the same without Goldie" and "will everyone die" I started to really wish that I had I just left the fish on the kitchen desk. Spiro required a lengthy discussion on the meaning of life and the circle of life and why things die and what we learn from it. I explained to him that he had missed our turtle Theo when he passed away over the summer ( I plead the 5th), and that although he missed him, life moved on and now Goldie and Theo could be together in heaven. He started crying harder and said "Great, now I am thinking about Theo too". It was at this point that I realized that I had jumped out of the plane and forgot my parachute inside. I spent the next hour digging myself out of a very large hole that I had dug, until he understood or got tired of crying ( I am still not sure which). Billy on the other hand, handled things quite well. He looked at Spiro as if to say,  "Seriously, bro, it's a fish? Take it easy." but instead just shrugged his shoulders and said "Mommy, Goldie got dead". I agreed that " Yes, "Goldie did get dead" and he asked me how? To which I replied, "He was elderly". For him, that was it. That was all he needed. He moved on, never looked back and hasn't brought up the fish since.

Just for the record, although Billy was a lot easier to handle through "Goldie Gate" he never had any shame in throwing down in the middle of any store, school, church... and I now look back at the poor Mommy I had judged in the middle of target with her screaming 2 year old and realize it is not always your parenting but sometimes the will of your child. It goes back to the old nature vs. nurture argument. I truly do believe it's a combination of both. I think each child comes to us with a portion of their personality already imbedded in their souls and I think it is our job as parents to recognize these qualities and patiently foster them. My children's uniqueness to each other is what will make them great, Spiro will always be a focused, empathetic, follow the rules kind of guy and Billy will always be his own person, never a follower, letting things roll of his back and always searching for something exciting with not a speck of fear in his heart. The things about each of my boys that makes it difficult for me at times to parent are the things about them that I have come to truly admire and appreciate. The moral of this story for me? Treat your children as individuals not a group and always keep the animals in a place where you can SEE them all the time.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Play Calling

I am a HUGE Ravens Fan! and I mean HUGE! Yesterday,  I spent most of the day gathering all of our Ravens scarfs, hats, gloves, blankets... together for the big playoff game this weekend that my husband I will be attending. So in light of today being Purple Friday and the impending big game, I am going to breakdown how I use the dynamics of football to raise my two boys. Now I understand that I may lose a few of you ladies but work with me and for all the Dad's out there this one's for you.

#1 Quarterback - I am the quarterback (among other positions). Lets be honest, most if not all moms are the quarterback. (Hubby, I know when you read this you are going to want to be the quarterback but when you come up with your own "sports analogy" to raise our boys, you can pick your own position. For now, I am the quarterback) Now the reason I am the quarterback (and a very effective one at that), is my ability to run the "offense"/household. I handle it all, grocery shopping, bill paying, homework, birthday parties, doctor appointments... while at the same time the "defense"/children are blitzing and running at me trying to knock me down. Believe you me, my kids do not call any other plays but to blitz. All. The. Time.

#2 Offensive Line - Hubby, this is one of your positions and I don't care which one of the Offensive Lineman you are just block for me. For example, when I am making dinner and the kids are fighting and yelling my name and the dog is running around chasing them, throw a block for your quarterback. When I am on the phone and the kids are jamming fruit snacks in my face to open, throw a block for your quarterback. When I am on the edge of a melt down because it has been "one of those days" and losing my patience, throw a block for your quarterback. You get the picture.

#3 Play Calling -  I am the quarterback and I call the plays. Even though I may discuss the play in the "huddle",  I reserve the right to change the play at the line of scrimmage. For example, As I am writing this right now, I told both my boys after their bath that they needed to play quietly for a little while so Mommy could write and I would let them stay up a little past bedtime. They thought that by "quiet" I meant to throw things at each other from the top of the stairway and run around slamming doors. I changed the play, they are both in bed now. Sometimes I call specific plays from "watching film"/past mistakes. This is one of the main reasons why I am the quarterback. I have the previous experience to pull from.  Although my husband would like to abandon bed time on a night he is home, I have to explain to him that bed time is set at 8:00pm not just for my sanity but because they need to be up by a certain time for our morning routine and if I can't get them out of bed, the morning becomes more difficult then it already is and if they are tired, they will wake up in a mood that would make Ray Lewis himself turn and want to run away.

#4 The Super Star - In our house my husband is the "Super Star" of the team, you know, the Ray Lewis, the Peyton Manning, the Randy Moss... and I really am okay with it. He gets very little time to spend with our boys and I do understand his need to make that time fun and special for everyone. He is after all, the one who always has to give me a good pep talk on the sidelines after a "Mommy Meltdown" and tap me on the behind, tell me to get back in there and that "I got this".

#5 Defense - Now that I have covered Offense, lets move on to Defense. Parenting is unique to football in that you will be playing both Offense and Defense and at a moment's notice you may need to switch back and forth. Also, sometimes when you are playing Defense, you will realize that you should have really been playing Offense and vice versa. Let me provide you with an example, if I may. We are a family that at times likes to eat out. Now on the ride to a restaurant I am quarterbacking all the way, I am running the plays in my head against what I think the boys are going to do, getting prepared for the "game"/dinner and letting the boys know what is expected of them at the restaurant. Once we park, my husband and I move into defense. At this point we are basically going to be your "corners" in football and our job is to cover the "receivers"/our children and not let them get a big play. I know a lot of people like to run a zone defense (especially if you have more than 2 children) but my husband and I switch it up to catch them off guard and keep them on their toes. However, at the table, we are strictly man to man coverage. We each cover the one sitting next to us. Now I do, at times, have to remind my husband that this scenario is strictly man to man because he likes to drop back into zone. That being, I cover the zone and he eats his dinner, but this is and always should remain a man to man situation. Now dropping coverage at this point, includes but is not limited to allowing "your" child to play with knives, empty condiments on the table, crawl under the table, kick the other child sitting on the other side of the table, not cutting up and/or preparing his meal... I again do have to remind my husband of the last one and the fact that I can't cover both sides of the "field"/table and that he needs to cover his man at all times. As far as any outings at non- eating establishments, we run a zone defense and the hubby does excel at this.

#6 Hail Marys - I throw a lot of them, I try not to get us into a position where the only option left is a Hail Mary but lets face it, sometimes you just have to throw the ball up as hard as you can and hope it comes down in the right hands. Now my husband and I have completed a few Hail Marys and looked at one another like we just won the Superbowl and a smug "we have got this parenting thing, down" and that's when out of nowhere the children "sack us" or knock the "ball out of our hands".  Always anticipate your "opponent's"/children's move, never lose focus. Don't ever feel bad about having thrown a Hail Mary, unfortunately, children don't come with a playbook and sometimes this is going to be your only option.

#7 Winning - We have won a few and lost many. Our main goal is to just keep ourselves in the "game" and give ourselves a chance to be good parents and raise two kind, inspired, and motivated human beings. In the words of Jack Harbaugh, father to NFL coaches Jim and John Harbaugh we want our boys to "Attack this day with an enthusiasm unknown to man kind". GO RAVENS!!! CAW! CAW!

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Lying Game

For my first "official" post, I am going to share with you the one Almost Super Mom power that seems to be coveted most by my friends and family... (insert drum roll) The Lie Detector.

Once my oldest son Spiro entered the age where lying seemed like a good idea to him, I developed a very keen sense called the Lie Detector. It went a little something like this... I would ask if he did or didn't do something, knowing that he had or hadn't and he would not tell me the truth, and just went he thought he had me... a light bulb went off in my head. So I waited for my time to strike and the next time he was untruthful, I asked him to stick out his tongue, he looked at me with the same puzzled look that you all probably have reading this and asked me why?. I explained to him that I was looking for the lies on his tongue, that when he lies it leaves a little imprint on his tongue for me to see. Now the fact that I lied to my son in an attempt to keep him from lying is not completely lost in translation for me. I do, however, believe that there is a "grey area" of lying and this falls into that category (kind of like Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy...). I do have to admit that it wasn't shortly after this that I found Spiro propped up sweetly on his stool in the boys bathroom thoroughly inspecting his tongue. I knew immediately what he was searching for (and knew he would never find it). I explained that being able to see lies on children's tongues can only be seen by someone who is a Mommy or a Daddy and that one day when he became a Daddy he would be able to see it too. He seemed content with this explanation. Fortunately for me my kids are pretty easy to read and from that day forward when I suspected that I wasn't getting the "full story", I would ask to see the tongue. Did you hit your brother? No. Show me your tongue. Did you eat a cookie after I said not until after dinner? No. Show me your tongue. Spiro generally will break down before he shows me his tongue but if he is trying to pull a fast one over on me I can usually tell that he is sweating bullets when he sticks his tongue out for inspection and on the flip side if he offers to show me his tongue or proudly sticks it out I know he is definitely being truthful. For the most part, my kids are pretty good about being truthful and for now this has been quite effective in keeping things in check but with my oldest approaching 7 this March, I am not sure how much longer I will be able to keep this charade up. I guess I will just have to dig deep down into my Almost Super Mom powers and cross that bridge when I come to it...

Anyone else have any super powers that they have developed since becoming a parent? I am always looking to acquire new ones, so if you have any thoughts or advice, I would love to hear about them!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Little Background...

After thinking it over for several months and watching my friend Liz from Naptime Decorator, (if you haven't checked this blog out, it is AWESOME! ) I have decided to join the blogging world. Maybe I am crazy, maybe I am arrogant in thinking that anyone would really want to read MY blog but here I go...

I am a stay at home to two pretty fantastic boys, a disobedient dog and the wife of a restaurant owner.  My husband works 6-7 days a week and is one of the hardest working people I know. I truly am very blessed to have a man that is willing to go the extra distance to take care of our family. With that being said, I am for the most part "on my own" as far as the day to day functions of our household. When I tell people that  homework time, bath time, bedtime... is a solo operation in our house, they always have the same response - "you must be super mom". Well almost, and I use the term almost very loosely.

I wasn't always a stay at home mom. Although my husband and I were both willing to adjust our lifestyle after the birth of our first son, to make sure that he wouldn't be in daycare, I was fortunate enough to have a mother-in-law that was willing (or possibly begging) to be at home with him. So after a 3 month maternity leave, I went back to work part-time. It really was the perfect balance for our family at that time. I worked 3 days and had 4 days home with our little boy. Fast forward two years, my husband has sold our previous restaurant and decided to take 1 year off before starting his new venture (and his current restaurant) to spend some quality time with our son. I decided to go back to work full time since he was going to be home and found a job at a Real Estate Development Company as their Marketing Director. I won't deny that I shed a few  a lot of tears when the day came to go back into the work force full time, however, after getting adjusted I absolutely LOVED my new job. I loved the people, my bosses, my duties... and then about 1 week after starting my new job - I found out that I was pregnant again. So what you do when you have just started a new job that you absolutely LOVE and haven't yet proved yourself and will be having a baby in 9 months...? You hide it! I was very similar to the actresses on TV shows who are pregnant but their characters are not supposed to be. I wore baggier blouses, I walked with books, plants, purses, anything that would cover my growing bump. And then when I was about 3 months along, I woke up one morning and realized that I just couldn't hide it any longer. I confessed to my boss that although I didn't know I was pregnant when I had accepted the job, I was indeed pregnant and just wanted a chance to prove myself. I have to say he took it extremely well and was genuinely supportive. ( I was, however, overlooked for Employee of the Month that month)  I worked through my pregnancy, in fact,  I worked up until 6 hrs before I delivered our second baby boy. I did go back to the job I loved after the birth of our second son but at this point my husband was in the middle of opening his next restaurant, my mother-in-law was struggling to take care of a 2 1/2 year old and a newborn and my need to be home with my family was ever growing. I do miss my job at times but I have to admit that I have never once regretted the choice to leave my career and stay at home with my boys. Don't get me wrong, there are days that I definitely stare at the clock counting down the minutes to bedtime, but their are the days that I feel truly blessed to be a part of every aspect of their lives. The most important thing that I have learned is that everyday ends and a new one begins... so on the days that I feel like I have failed, I know that day will end and the next one can be great and on the days I feel like "Super Mom", I know that day will end also and the next day might be a challenge.

I can't promise that by reading this blog I will give you all the answers but I can promise to give you some ideas that I have learned along the way and I can always promise that I will serve it up with a side of humor.