Thursday, September 21, 2017

Tetanus and Underwear

Normally my writing urge takes me down a more serious path, things that are important to me tend to hang out in my brain as I lay sleepless until I vomit them into writing.   Just as a warning, this post tiptoes around the state of my undergarments so if you prefer to keep these hideous thoughts from your imagination please stop here.

I apologize for the triviality you're about to experience.

Why.  In the World.  Is it such a pain to purchase new underwear??  Is this a mom thing?

I mean...Do I REALLY spend all of my money on other things for other people that I cannot spend the 19.00 ( sorry Ladies...I'm an Amazon Prime Shopper...) for a new bra?  A nursing bra should only be worn a year or two.  No matter how cute it is, something tells me that no self-respecting woman should ever cut the underwire out with a utility knife because the specks of rust coming off of it are bothering her.   You shouldn't need a tetanus shot because of your underwear!  And matter how shredded the straps of your best bra are, braiding the frays together does not make it a new bra. And we are not EVEN going to venture into the fit of said undergarments but I want to add that if you feel like wearing a snug cami on top of your bra makes them fit better...well...

As for underwear...I once could say that I bought new underwear with every kid.  Once.  My children are 13, 9, 4 and 1...lets not dwell on that.  Can I just go to the Wal-Mart and spend 10.00 on a pack?  Nope.

Why do we(I) find it so difficult to buy the things we(I) need?  I enjoy wearing nice things but should it really take an Act of Congress to complete the purchase?  I know there are those Moms who indulge with matching undergarments and I salute you.  Ladies, I envy that extra hiccup in your get-up, the exclamation point on your daily routine, the smiles you smile to yourself, and your freedom from tetanus.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tears of Joy during a Tantrum

This past Sunday afternoon, the girls and I made the dreaded Wal-Mart run.  As we sat with the huddled masses waiting on a break from the torrential downpour a wiry, bald and jolly Stanley Tucci-ish older man stood with his less jolly wife.  He made rounds visiting with various groups of people while I wrestled a toddler who was 25 minutes past our allotted Wal-Mart baby behavior prime time.  It was Post Lunch, Pre Nap, Cart-Confined Diva Fury.  I was sweating profusely in the humid foyer of the store, precariously close to cracking my molars from gritting my teeth and doing my best to keep the tiny terror from catapulting herself onto the tile floor when he approached us.   I forced a smile as he said, "Oh someone's not too happy!"...well...yes glad you noticed Sir.   At that point I was REALLY just focusing on my inner struggle between ripping open a bag of Dum Dum Suckers to bribe her or disciplining her for screaming which results in more screaming.   So I'm barely listening to him chatter and then our conversation started down a path I dreaded could turn awkward(  He proceeded to comment on how sweet this tantrum throwing kid of mine was.  And how his biggest regret was a vasectomy...*smile and nod*  His eyes then welled up with tears as he told me how blessed he was to be able to raise his wife's son.  And how just the other day He overheard the son refer to him as his father and that it was such an amazing feeling.  He thanked me for talking with him and moved on, cracking jokes and wiping his tears.

Reality Check.

I read a blog today that talked about how hard and how beautiful this stage of life is...and I thought of him. I started young, parenthood found me and I probably take it for granted even knowing that there are those who cry real tears wishing for the day I just had.

These kids of mine...they WILL be the reason I go crazy.  There's going to be the endless bickering and tattling.  We're going to run ragged trying to be 4 places at once.  Some days I'm going to feel like I'm yelling more than talking.  But here's to you, Stanley Tucci-ish man with the vasectomy.   I'll do my darndest to kiss the head thrown to the ground during a tantrum and to say "I love you" after my own tantrums.  I'll try like heck to choose happiness.  I'll love them to tears, no matter which one of us is doing the crying.

Besides, I know there will come a day when I'm the one driving my kids crazy.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Wedded Bliss

I'm going to be real for a minute folks.

It's our 14th wedding anniversary next week ...and I've got some words to share.

Myles and I were babies...B.A.B.I.E.S...when we got married.  We had the conversations that I assume all young couples have.  How many kids do we want?  Where do we want to live?  For better or worse?  Til death do us part...yada yada.

But not one of us said anything like this.  "I'm going to be so far behind on laundry that you will have hell finding a clean pair of underwear."   "I'm going to offer you soup from a can for supper sometimes because it's going to be 9:30 at night and I haven't had time to think about your food."  "There's going to be times that I won't answer my phone and you're going to think I'm ignoring your calls."  "I'm going to drop my dirty clothes in a pile and leave my dirty dishes everywhere. "

People...we change.  If we don't grow and adapt and morph then we aren't human.  I can't tell you how many times I've heard "They/You/I aren't the same person that They/You/I  were."

Nope.  You aren't.

Back then, there weren't so many bills, mouths to feed, diapers to change.  You might have been prettier or more attractive.  Smaller pant size, less wrinkles, folded laundry and a fatter wallet.  

Here's what we should've said.

There will be days...maybe even months...that we will question why we are still married.  We may question who we are at this stage in life.  We may stew and fret and fuss.  Married life is a series of choices...and we are going to choose happiness.  Ask for help, forgive and be patient.  This phase is just a step.  One of these days there will be less diapers, less time, less money and more memories.  Let's always remember to find romance in nothing more than laughter and defeat and weariness.   And that only two letters make I do into I don't.

There's also only a few letters between Bliss and Blister but hey...they both take time to grow.

Here's to proving the skeptics wrong for the next 50 years, Mr. Brown.  May we always bring out the best and share the worst...and all that other mushy junk.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The End (of the summer)

This weekend wrapped up a busy busy summer!  I know that the cooler months are truly not any slower, but for some reason it seems a little easier to breathe.  I'm pretending to not remember anything about sports, homework or projects...shhhh

We packed up the family and headed for the very last fair of the season, the DuQuoin State Fair.  The younger kids were just excited to take the camper, we have only had it out one other time at our fair so the concept is still new!  Thanks to great friends we managed to get cattle and equipment back and forth and still be able to take the camper down...I was sweating it for a bit worrying about the logistics of it all.  I love being able to take the camper when we go anywhere.  Easy cool clothing changes, a decent meal that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, and a bed for everyone...not always easy to find those things when you are a family of 6.  I had been told that DuQuoin was a great fair to go to and it was.  Felt like home for a few days!

The Special Olympics was holding a duck race that caught Tyson's attention.  He begged and begged to go to the duck races.  Finally I broke down and took him over.  We bought a duck and when the lady asked for my name he jumped in with "Tyson Brown".  She let him know that you had to be 18 to purchase the duck and he replied with "Well, I'm 4!"  He was so excited about that and just stood there forever staring at the race lane...probably envisioning ducks wearing race jerseys and checkered flags.

Image may contain: people standing and outdoor

He had to wait a whole day and when race day came he asked about every 30 minutes if it was time for the duck race.  We walked over and when he saw the giant dump truck he was puzzled.  "I don't hear anything?!"  I told him they used rubber ducks and he was just dumbfounded.  It was fun to see his wheels turning as they dumped the ducks into the water and then as he sat on the other side of the lake watching the ducks make their way over.

Myles asked him later who won and he said, "Somebody else.  We lost!"  Welcome to life, Buddy.

The kids fished for bass in the DNR tent and mined for "jewels"  in the Mines and Minerals tent.  They played in the dirt, ate too much junk food, and slept great every night!

Emma took her steer and heifer, and they did just as we expected.  We were proud of her no matter the placing.  It's hard to be a rational thinking teenager when you have 1000 lb or more of animal being difficult.  Thankfully, there were only tears once...  The rest of the time, they (4 and 2 legged animals) did just fine.  The weather was perfect and that makes it a little easier to move into a new barn for a few days.

Once home and unpacked, animals tucked away in the barn for a few more days until heading to either butcher or pasture, Emma decided on a whim to get started on next years projects.  Gus and Whiskey are still in the "learning" phase...which is a much kinder way of saying they are too big to get away with being jerks and too little to know better.

After MUCH excitement, which included calling reinforcements, the heifer making her break for it, haltering the steer to use as a road block, using a truck bumper and gate panels, a reluctant bath, and complete determination on Emma's part, The two little A$$***** made it back to their pen.

 It's hard to let your kid try sometimes knowing they can get hurt but I can honestly say she handled them better than her dad and I could have.  Her dad may be stronger and I may be wiser(...crickets...) but she was still willing to try on her own.

Its a new week and a new season.  Basketball tryouts are this week and who knows...if all goes well that season will start.   I am so ready for early sunsets, cool weather and time to breathe!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

100 wins from 1 failure

Is there anything harder than watching your kid fail?  Most parents would probably say "No".

Yesterday I watched a kid, my kid, struggle and fail and succeed all at the same time while showing calves.

One thing about animals, you do whatever you can to help your animal look better, behave better, grow better, etc.  But at the end of the are at the mercy of what that animals capabilities are.  They just are what they are.  Sometimes the hardest part about it is going out with confidence despite knowing the caliber of your animal, knowing the task at hand is really about making a mediocre animal look top-notch.  My kids biggest challenge is probably having parents who never showed cattle, you know there is certainly an advantage to being born into the show cattle scene...  But besides that, she's been lucky to have great help.  My girl has had her ups and downs.

Year 1:  Bucket calf, she was just ecstatic to get that blue Class A 4H ribbon.
Year 2:  A pretty little heifer that the judge fell in love with.  Her roller coaster was at the top...
Year 3:  Jack...the steer that wouldn't.  Despite her efforts to break him, he only made it as far as the grill.  Crashed to the ground
Year 4:  Buddy, her buddy.  She was determined, and put hours upon hours into him, broke him herself and took great pride in the accomplishments that he did get.  She sobbed on auction day.
Year 5:  This year.   She stepped in with both feet, This roller coaster is coasting.  She bought her steer,  cow and heifer calf with her own money.  But like I said before, an animal is what it is.  She loves them.  She is proud of them.  And because I have preached and preached on the importance of being a great loser, she accepted (mostly) gracefully when her calves were last in their class at the county fair.

Yesterday, she had some great moments.  The heifers behaved, she came away winning some and losing some.

 And finally, at the end of a very long day...the steer show.  That steer she was so proud of despite placing last in his class prior to that show, the one that she took home and pampered with full faith in him even knowing that he wasn't at his full potential, Joey was a jerk.

He was over it and yanked her all over the place.  She tried to smile and did her best to show him properly but lets face it...he was a jerk.  It was painful to watch and we saw the judge place from
the bottom up until it came to her, 2nd in her class.  That is when the tears started to fall.  

As a parent, seeing her tears and knowing how he acted, I was first worried that she was hurt!  My next thought, perhaps she was embarrassed.  Maybe she was mad?  Mad about getting 2nd?  Mad at him?

As she came out of the ring, blubbering and sobbing and red in the face, I faced her with a million questions that she didn't want to answer.  After a few deep breaths, she tells me "Mom, I started crying because I got second!".  I started reassuring her that second is still great, a major improvement over the last show and that I'm proud of her irregardless and she interrupted me with "I'm crying because I was happy!"


Sometimes its easier to think you are going to lose than it is to think you may win.  In my eyes, the acceptance of failure with a winning attitude is going to get her so much farther than 100 wins.  And I am so proud of her for that.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

13 Mothers Day Revelations!

13 Mother's Days later...

Motherhood is a complex thing.  In honor of the occasion here are 13 things I've learned about myself as a mother.

  1. Organization comes by necessity.  I'm usually organized when I absolutely need to be.  The rest of the time it's hit or miss!  I have to build a tower before it can crumble, right?
  2.  I actually enjoy food that has been properly cooled.  Who knew that the flavors were so enhanced at 73.4 degrees?  I also enjoy eating in a standing at the counter while everyone else is eating...let's consider it a way to burn calories.
  3. While we're on a food note,  I never knew how much I enjoyed cooking in the comfort of my own home until I had a 3 year old boy... Those dinners with the family aren't near as enjoyable when we're sitting in the car waiting for the others to finish!
  4. My brain needs quiet.  No radio, No talking, No bickering, No TV...just the glorious golden buzzing of my brain cells.  
  5. Despite my best efforts, I can only be patient and understanding for a short time.  Sorry kids...Mom can't deal.
  6. As my kids are getting older I have realized that it is actually possible to be in 2 places at once...
  7. If I feel like other people around us are judging my kids behavior, I end up being too hard on them.  Not because I care what other people think of me as a parent but because I care about what people think of my kids.  Its a bit hypocritical because I hope they grow up to love themselves just the way they are, quirks and all!!  **slaps hand**  Note to Self:  Let kids be kids.
  8. I have a voice that no one hears...  People ignore me.  Kids ignore me.  Husband ignores me.  It's probably a good thing I didn't finish my degree and become a teacher...
  9. I have total "Mom Envy" of the women who keep a clean and clutter-free house and have their laundry caught up all the time. How do people keep a counter free of papers and mail and 12 pairs of dirty shoes from piling up at the door?  Or keep dirty laundry in cute little hampers?  My dirty laundry is in a cute little thing I like to call an ENTIRE BATHROOM FULL!  
  10. In some eyes (those judge-y ones) I probably spoil my kids.  And you know what...I hope I can do that forever.  There are plenty of things they go without.  Life is going to deprive them of plenty.  If I want to pull my hair out when they are being stubborn and ridiculous and obnoxious and then buy them an ice cream cone anyway, I'm going to do it.  Go judge your own life.
  11.  I need to include myself in pictures.  This is a work in progress, a painful work in progress.  Luckily this is the age of selfies, so the Brown Kids will at least know what 30-ish year old Mom looked like 50 years from now.
  12. No one is going to know what I truly need them to help me with unless I actually say it.  Right, Husband?  It has been a long process but despite my frustrations at times, I have realized that I truly can't be upset about doing things on my own if I haven't asked someone to help me with the load.  The kids aren't going to know what tasks I need them to complete first and the Dad won't know when or where to go if I don't actually speak out loud.  You have no idea how much this has helped my peace of mind!
  13. Last but not least, I have learned that childbirth is actually the least painful part of motherhood.  And also the least rewarding.   Who knew that this daily evolving process as we watch our children's successes and failures, pushing them one step further than we went ourselves, expecting miracles and being just as proud of average, loving their quirks and bad habits and surprises, could be both at the same time?  I may curl up in the fetal position some day and cry because life is so overwhelming but I stand here today welcoming the challenge.  

Thursday, May 11, 2017

May and stealth donkeys...Its a struggle

I surely can't be the only one who struggles in the month of May...?

...Other than Tyson that is...

On occasion we have a neighborhood donkey that shows up uninvited.  It's really not that he is so menacing but more that he is a nuisance in an overly friendly, very loud and overbearing, super annoying kind of way.  He usually comes at night...but he makes a great alarm clock when he comes early in the morning.  The other night at 10 pm as Myles walked in the front door from fire meeting, I hear the unmistakable scream of a donkey from the back of the house.  I have never been so thankful for the light of a full moon, it was so helpful to actually be able to the see the body of a donkey hurtling through the yard in stealth mode towards me.  He was so excited to be there with cattle for company that he ran Raspberry right through the pasture fence into a section that has no hot wire.

(This is Raspberry FYI)
(And Ebba, the Matriarch...who ain't got no time for this schtuff...)

  Of wasn't pleasant when Raspberry went through the fence the first time so no amount of coaxing or food was going to bring her back through!  Finally, we called Emma (thank goodness for cell phones) and had to have her get dressed and come outside to lead Ebba in circles around her and back through the fence.  That STILL didn't convince her so we literally had to take the fence completely down, roll it up and have Ebba stand in the gap until Raspberry finally freaked and ran through like her tail was on fire!

 All the while, I'm standing there getting covered in slobber and cow crap from the chow hounds that wanted to be in on the action and the donkey has woken up all the sleeping children.  They are wondering around the house and hollering out the windows looking for us.  I think they were feeling a bit like Boxcar Children for a moment or two.

So basically...this is May in a nutshell for me...

I feel like I'm on my game two times a year, once at the beginning of school.  The routine is structured, lunches are packed and the days are planned.  Then by winter, it gets crazy.  School is half over all of a sudden, all those school holidays are thrown in there and suddenly it is Christmas.  The other time is after Christmas break when we have started the year fresh.  Everyone gets to bed on time again and I spend way more time inside doing stuff I should be doing.  Like dishes.

The struggle is real.

But May...Its a struggle!  The days are getting longer and there is, of course, always something to do.  It is so hard to come in and get everyone ready for bed when it is still daylight.  Never fails, If the kids take a bath before dark...Tyson wakes up in the morning with dirt on his nose...or chocolate...or pizza...  The kids stay up later and no one gets to bed on time.  We end up waking up late more times than not, and backpacks and lunches get forgotten until the last minute on a regular basis. There are field trips and camps and 4H projects to work on.  Supper gets simpler and eaten later, laundry (not that it is EVER caught up) piles up.

And me...I'm just over here dodging stealth donkeys in the moonlight and praying that I can keep it together until school is out.