Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Well, I Guess It's Cheaper Than Therapy...

Ever since I was a little girl I've loved to write. When I was younger I'd write (bad) poetry, and I'd write short stories, too. When I started college creative writing was put on the back burner so that I could focus on writing research paper after research paper for my B.A. in History. My most recent excuse for not having time to write has been motherhood. After a semi-breakdown a while back, my husband told me that I need to take some time for myself; I needed some "me" time. After I got done laugh-crying at Nathan, and asking him when and where this magical "me" time was to occur he suggested that I start writing again. Sometimes you just have to get your ideas out, you have to vent them somehow. After giving it some thought I decided to give it a try.

So far I've been writing here, I've been (slowly) working on a novel that has been on my mind off and on since Liam was born, and I've been submitting posts as a gust blogger. To my intense surprise someone actually took me up on my offer! Now, I know that anyone can publish on the internet. It's so easy a monkey could do it, and I'm sure somewhere out there one probably has. In fact, the literary monkey probably has more readers than I do. Nevertheless, I was really pleased that someone else out there in the world was willing to publish something that I wrote on their blog, for whatever reason. It may be a tiny, microscopic achievement, but it's MY tiny, microscopic achievement. Here's a link to the blog post:   just in case you want to read it. It's about cloth diapering though, so if you don't have kids then you most likely won't find it interesting.

As for the novel I've been thinking about since Liam was born, I've got more of the story in my head than I do on paper. I've only really spoken about it with Nathan, but if I had to try to explain the style/mood of my story I'd have to say that if a Nicolas Sparks book and a Laurie Notaro book could have a baby, it would be my story. I said that to Nathan and he just rolled his eyes. It was his idea I start writing again, so I brook no complaints. I guess he's just got to learn to be careful what he wishes for.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Liam and the F***ing Steak

Anyone who knows or has spoken to Liam can tell you that he's very...verbose. My little chatterbox will talk to pretty much everyone about everything, with a great vocabulary. In fact, sometimes he picks up new words with  alarming speed; especially words we don't necessarily want him/intend for him to know. Of course, the words we don't want him to learn are curse words. We're usually pretty good about not cursing in front of Liam, and we really try to keep it to a minimum in general.

The first time my son dropped the F-bomb on me, it was probably my husband's fault. Somehow my husband slipped up and f**k entered my three year-old's vocabulary. I was in the kitchen sometime after he must have heard the f-word, cutting up leftover steak for a steak and eggs breakfast. I was still pretty tired, and hadn't even finished my first cup of morning coffee. In walks my cherub-faced little angel son, hair all tousled from sleep. "Good morning, Mommy" he said. "Good morning, sweetie" I replied. Liam then looked up at me and said, in all seriousness, "Mommy, is that the f**king steak?" My jaw dropped. "...what did you just say?" I asked. Liam looked at me like I must be hard of hearing and answered "Is.That.The.F**king.Steak?" really slowly and clearly, so I could understand him. I said the first thing that popped into my head, "Yes, it is, but we don't say f**cking. That's not a nice word, and I don't want to hear you saying it again." Liam told me he understood, and went on with his morning like it was business as usual. I immediately ran to the bathroom where my husband was taking his a.m. shower. "You will not believe what just came out of your son's mouth!" Nathan always knows I'm about to tell him something bad that is most likely his fault when I refer to Liam as "his son". He thought it was hilarious, so he was no help.

We haven't had another F-bomb incident since, so I (mistakenly) let my guard down. The other night I was working on something on the computer when I realized I had been doing it incorrectly and had to start over from scratch. I was frustrated, and I forgot that there were little ears present. In my frustration a "damn it" may have slipped out of my mouth. Twice. Of course, now Liam's new favorite thing to say is "damn it". He always uses it in the right context (which I guess is good...I mean if you're going to curse it really should be in the right context) and in the same tone that I do (no pawning this one off on Daddy).

Why is it that kids pick up the words you don't want them to learn the quickest? Liam still says "music" as "moo-skit" BUT he can toss out four letter profanities like they're Mardi Gras beads. I guess now that we've broken the f**k barrier, Liam will have to watch the "fudge" scene from "A Christmas Story" and see that saying bad words comes with consequences. And while I wouldn't put an entire bar of soap in my three-year-old's mouth I most certainly would make him wear some pink bunny footed pajamas and take copious amount of pictures for future use.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Meridith Gray? Present!

Some days I feel like there needs to be a roll call in life. It is so incredibly easy to get swept up in the day to day business of living, social media, smart phones, and television. All you have to do is look around when you go out, and you'll see exactly what I mean. People text while they drive (one of those instances when multitasking is NOT a good idea) or spend their entire time out staring at their phones. I am just as guilty as the next girl when it comes to spending too much time messing around with my phone. This fact was abruptly (not to mention annoyingly) brought to my attention by my seven month old son yesterday.
I was sitting on the couch with Owen draped across the nursing pillow on my lap, breast feeding him. While he was eating, I was on my phone checking Facebook and texting with a friend. While I was in the middle of typing something to her, Owen's pudgy little baby foot shot up and kicked my phone. I looked down at him and he was smiling (which is hard to do when you're latched on, but oh my goodness is it adorable). I said, "Owen, don't kick Mommy's phone, silly" and picked my phone back up. I began typing my text again when Owen kicked my phone for the second time. I'm a quick learner, so I had a firmer grip on my phone this time and I was able to keep it in my hand. I kept typing and Owen kept pushing my arm with his foot. I ended up holding my arm up and straight out so he couldn't reach it in order to finish my text. That, my friends, is when my three year old son came into the room. He got an eye full of Owen nursing with his leg up in the air, toes wiggling, trying to reach my phone and me with my arm up in the air muttering "phone, please don't fall on my face, please don't fall on my face...". 

"Mommy? Uhm...what are you doing?" Liam asked. "Well," I said, "Mommy was trying to tell her friend something." Liam walked over to the couch and looked at his brother, "Owen is playing with you." And that, right there, was when I had my moment of clarity. My three year old felt like he had to point out the fact that his brother was playing with me; trying to get my attention. Liam had this look on his face like "here we go, we get to state the obvious for Mommy...again...". I looked down and Owen was still looking at me, but until that moment I was too wrapped up in my own world to look, and I mean really look, at him. 

Cue the guilt trip and water works, please. 

Therefore, I've decided to make a big effort to be as mentally/emotionally present in my children's lives as I am physically present. It's not like I started out as a parent with the goal to be as distracted as possible. I adore my children. However, when you spend all day every day with them it can become very difficult to be in the moment all the time. Some times you just need a break. So, I'm going to try to stay up during their nap time when I can be as distracted as I want to be. I can drink coffee, read, watch t.v., or write all without feeling guilty for having too much screen time away from my kids. 

So, mommy readers: how do you deal with distraction and being a "present" parent?  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fall Leaves Fall

Holy crap! It's the beginning of autumn and I've already read Liam's new favorite seasonal book "Fall Leaves Fall" like a thousand times. We've been so busy lately, and I've been totally remiss in my writing. We started "homeschooling" Liam for pre-k 3 this year. "Homeschooling" for pre-k really doesn't involve much more than we were already doing with him (reading books, arts & crafts time, learning games, baking, etc). However, I have been trying to add more organized activities into the mix, preferably ones that involve other kids so Liam is socialized. So far we've been going to the local gymnastics center on Fridays for free-play, which is basically an hour of running, jumping, and tumbling anywhere he wants to in the gym while I watch smugly as I anticipate how awesome nap time is going to be that day. It's only $8 per family, so anyone in the area should check it out. If anything, it's a great resource for rainy/very cold days so your kids don't get cabin fever and you don't go stark raving mad.

Starting next week we'll be having a home school co-op day on Wednesdays where we get together with a friend of mine and her three youngest kids to do a project or activity. Next week will also be our first week of story-time at the Jacksonville library, which I've been told involves a craft/snack period afterwards. All of this combined with our reading, worksheets, and learning games should provide Liam with a great pre-k experience.

Owen is growing so much! He's already scooting and rolling all over the place and getting into whatever he can reach. I was not prepared for him to be mobile, and when he scooted to get a toy for the first time yesterday I almost cried. Nathan pointed out that he's growing up so fast, and pretty soon he'll be walking and talking. I told him to watch out, because it was around that point in Liam's life when I started making doe eyes at the baby aisle and dropping hints that more offspring was a good idea. Hence, Owen.

Last summer we made a "Gray Family Summer Bucket List", and we had so much fun with it. We ended up only getting to around 27/39 of the activities on our list. Well, now my husband wants to make a bucket list for each season. I made our autumn bucket list today, and I'm already excited to complete everything. Autumn is our favorite time of year. Our dating and wedding anniversaries are in October, the weather begins to cool down (theoretically- Arkansas is still hot and muggy this time of year unfortunately), and "pumpkin spice" everything brings a special little glimmer of happiness to my husbands eye. Seriously, put "pumpkin spice" on anything and my husband will eat it, no questions asked.

Now that things are more organized I'm hoping to write more, and post some new recipes. I recently tried a few new freezer crock pot recipes, so if those turn out well maybe I can share them here!