Archive for the ‘family’ Category

A Game- February 10, 2016

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

Monday I was sad my team lost so I told myself it was just a game. A football game. Our nation’s largest millionaires slam into each other causing possible irreparable brain damage. It’s America showing some of our most indulgent and barbaric behavior.

It is, but it’s not. It means more.

I was surprised at how genuinely sad I was that our Carolina Panthers lost Super Bowl 50 to the Denver Broncos Sunday night. I didn’t cry, that’s stupid, but there was some sulking and eating my feelings.

The story of this year’s Super Bowl goes deeper for us. See, we have a group of friends that make up our Fantasy Football league. We are six married couples. We became close friends after four couples (including us) were neighbors for several years. We all share a mutual love of crass humor and loud laughs. We have hosted the Super Bowl for several years. Last year was a fiasco as we inadvertently poisoned our friends with my brilliant “Build Your Own Nachos” bar idea. The source of everyone barfing the next day was either baby diaper fecal contamination or the more likely source, a virus. Our friends were able to joke about this through the year, thankfully. Two Fantasy team names were “Super Bowl Upchuck” and my team “Tainted Queso.”

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This year we had to have everyone back, even with the poisoning. You see, this was our Super Bowl. I’ve been a Carolina Panthers fan since the team came to our state when I was a teen. My husband grew up outside of Denver, following the Broncos’ every heartbreaking Super Bowl loss with a framed and signed John Elway jersey on his wall. That was before he got to do highlights of his team winning the big game his first year as a sportscaster. Years later, he would marry me and live in North Carolina. He happily adopted the Panthers as his NFC team, and I embraced the Broncos as my AFC team. Oh, I can’t forget a key part of this. My husband graduated from Auburn University. We all know Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is a Heisman winning Auburn alumni.

Truly our Super Bowl.

We promised our friends we would just buy food and not cook anything. We pleaded with them to give us another chance after the poisoning. They shared our excitement for “our Super Bowl” and packed our living room with smiling faces wearing Panthers blue. My husband wore his Broncos jersey under his Panthers jersey. He was in enemy territory, after all.

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The kids cheered and begged for Panthers noses and whiskers. I gave my son’s old infant Newton jersey to our friend’s new baby to wear for the game. We took turns snuggling him between wrangling children. Like all Americans we shared beer and wings while scratching our heads over Mountain Dew’s “Puppy, Baby, Monkey” commercial. We awarded this year’s Fantasy champ our league’s trophy. It’s a bra with tassel pasties on a box spray painted gold. True story. Our friends left and my husband comforted me, promising our young team would be back in a few years. I know he’s right.

kids super bowl

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Wednesday we got a box at the door. My father-in-law sent my husband a championship hat and t-shirt. He kindly didn’t send youth sizes to my children. I appreciate that. The sting is still there. I really thought the Panthers would win.

Grey Super Bowl

As silly as I feel being upset about this game, I feel I’m justified. This wasn’t just a game. It was our teams in the Super Bowl. I guess I’m also saying it’s never just football.

It’s seeing my husband feel like he can’t lose.

It’s dressing up my kids who can’t wait to see their friends in the same colors.

It’s forgiving friends willing to laugh with us.

It’s a father surprising his son with a thoughtful gift.

I don’t care if football is America’s guilty pleasure. It’s more than just a game.

 

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The Beach- June 29, 2015

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

There is a mason jar of sea shells on my kitchen countertop. Each shell was lovingly plucked from a shore full of treasures. It was hastily rinsed in the waves and placed gritty and glistening in my hands. My daughter and I walked the beach in search of shells each day last week. It was our time.

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Every family member that called our rented beach house “home” had their special times. My sister watched her son’s first steps in the ocean. My sister-in-law played with her niece and nephew and then got lost in the mystery novels she loves. My mom got all her kids around a table to eat together before late nights of loud board games.

We took five more minutes on the beach. We hugged a second or two longer. We ate another cookie. We had another beer. It was vacation. The best part about this trip was how full my heart felt the whole time.

They won’t remember, but I will. I will remember their kisses sticky from ice cream and their hair salty from the sea. They will roll their eyes when I remind them I hosed off their sandy, bare little tushes on the walkway in the open air. I will remember watching my 1 1/2 year-old son nod off in his high chair at lunch because he was so exhausted from the sun and pushing his trucks through the sand. I will remember the first time she flew a kite. I will never forget how he chased seagulls, laughing loud and leaving a trail of the tiniest footprints on the beach.

We are back, but the memories remain in our subtle tan lines and locked away in mason jars to stay in our kitchen until next summer.

beach 2015 collage

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The Magic Number? Deciding to Have Two or Three Children- May 27, 2015

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Scrolling through my Facebook feed I came across another woman with kids the same age as mine. She proudly posed with her newborn as well. Her third baby. Then I saw another friend pregnant with her third. Last week I got the same question two days in a row from friends, “So, are you done? Or are you going to have more kids?”

Oh, wow. I really don’t know, ya’ll.

mother of two or three

I ask myself that everyday. I look at my kids’ faces and think, “We make the most adorable babies. We already have two, why not have another?!” I love babies. I love being a mother. I soak up the sweetness of my children and wonder how a third child would change our dynamic.

I’ve read the articles about how families with three kids are the most stressed and heard how miserable and awful middle children are. I don’t believe any of that! First of all, I’m not buying that “middle child” garbage. I know some amazing middle children. My husband Greyson is an amazing, well adjusted middle child who grew up to be a successful business leader in his company after following his dream of becoming a sportscaster. He’s a loving husband, father and provider. My Aunt Wanda is a middle child and is the glue that holds our family together. She raised twins, welcomed another child into her home to raise, had a career as an educator and has been married to my uncle for more than 30 years. I pray my children, no matter their birth order, are like these middle children. Recent studies show middle children are pretty much as well-adjusted as the rest of the family and “Middle Child Syndrome” is totally exaggerated.

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Courtesy: pixshark.com

Some people have told me that they assume we’re done having babies because we have a girl and a boy. I see friends with two of the same sex who may try for another. I get that. But, the friends I’ve seen lately are just like me. They already have one of each. Of course there is always the friend who…surprise! Just gets pregnant with baby #3.

But, I want to know. How do you/did you come to the decision to have, or not have, a third child? We’re not ruling it out, it’s just not as obvious as having two kids, you know? There was no question we would have at least two. SO MUCH goes into deciding about the third. Our ages, money, obstetrical health, parenting, careers and sibling relationships are just some of the things we weigh when thinking about this. Please, don’t think I don’t realize how freaking lucky we are that we COULD have a third. I know the struggles of infertility stop many parents from having more than one or two kids. We’re very blessed to have two healthy children. I have to imagine the impact of caring for sick children or kids with special needs may alter some parents’ decisions on family planning as well.

If we don’t have a third, I don’t think I’ll feel incomplete or anything. Life will still be great and our family will be fine. Again, we’re so blessed. Do we want to add another little blessing?

Last week in the car Charlotte asked from the back seat, “Mommy, are we going to have any more babies in our family?” I gave the answer I give everyone, “I don’t know.” I returned her question, “Do you want another baby in our family?” She said, “Yes! I want it to be a girl and I want to name her Starlight!”

Then she said, “How do you get a baby in your belly, anyway?” Oh, yikes. Maybe I’m not ready for another. Then my husband says, “Well, if we have three, we have to have four kids. You know…balance.”

Sure. Starlight and Fourthkid. I’ll sleep when I’m dead. I will say, if we have a little Starlight, no one is allowed to buy him/her anything. We have everything. Starlight will live in hand-me-downs. That’s just part of being the youngest. (Says the oldest child with a smirk, as she writes this blog post.)

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Plastic Grass- April 6, 2015

Monday, April 6th, 2015

I thought that I had Easter basket grass already. I was quite certain I had seen bags of some pastel shade or another piled in the cluster that is the third floor of our house. I bought extra last year, not realizing you really only need one bag per basket. I got the paper kind last year, not the slightly translucent green plastic we had as kids.

You know the stuff. We found pieces of plastic grass wound up in our dog’s poop when she ate candy from our baskets. I was about 9. I was pissed. Why couldn’t the dog have eaten my sister’s jelly beans instead of my chocolate egg?

Well, I couldn’t find any of the paper kind left during my third Target run this week. I settled for the classic plastic, but in different colors for my kiddos. My one-year-old son made sure that I knew just how far the stuff goes.

This was after church on Sunday:

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This was Easter Monday morning when I ran upstairs for two effing minutes to put my contacts on:

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I don’t think the dog has eaten any, but I saw some hanging out of the top of Henry’s diaper after he rolled around the floor in it.

I took the mess in stride this Easter. I think it’s because I was happier and more grateful than I’ve ever been. I look at these pictures and realize that THIS is my life. How is this possible?! These people are mine and I feel like the most blessed woman on earth, even with plastic grass tangled in my toes.

6 Easter 2015

5 Easter 2015

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Spring Break- March 26, 2015

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Phew! We’re back in town after a four day spring break getaway to the beach with friends. I feel like I learn something every vacation. I always get introspective while away. Even when we’re busy making memories, vacation causes me to pause and think. The change of scenery and different routine cause me to reflect on life.

When I was working and I went on vacation I would ponder my career path and make goals for myself when I got back to work. Sometimes I would make a point to not think about work AT ALL and bask in a weekday on the beach. I always said the worst day of vacation is still better than the best day at work.

This vacation I reflected on my family. I looked at them and noticed all their eccentricities, their nuances and changes. They are remarkable people.

My Husband- He needs vacation. He doesn’t stop enough. In the calendar year 2014 he took no days off until his boss noticed. He took off 3.5 weeks in December. He had to use the time. This year we’re spacing out the time off. He needs more than just a football game or a video game to unwind. He wanted to take out the laptop. I didn’t let him. I assured him work would be there when he got back.

He walked down to the ocean with our daughter and carried her on his shoulders through downtown Savannah, GA. He took dips in the pool, drank beer and laughed. Sometimes he doesn’t know he needs to stop.

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My Daughter- Sometimes all the fun and change of routine can be more than a 4-year-old can handle. Back home today she was delightful. On the trip? Eh. She had some rough moments. Her good friend was with her and sometimes it’s hard to share and get along when you’re always together. Little people get tired quick and meltdowns happen.

But in the great moments I realized how big and capable she is now. I watched her jump in the pool with little fear and ask to take off her life jacket. I listened to her entertain herself and her brother in the car. She “read” a book to her friend by going through the pictures and making up the story.

Charlotte vacation

She chased all the seagulls on the beach, grinning between piercing screams. She caught a football and laughed. I caught her in a quick moment of stillness. I wondered if she was reflecting too.

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My Son- This growing, smiley boy made our trip even better. My busy little man notices everything. In this week alone he added “apple” and “car” to his growing vocabulary. There’s no way he couldn’t add “car.” We spent so much time there, it’s fitting.

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All things considered the kids did great during a 5-hour car ride. The way back was 6 hours due to back-ups on I-95. I even caught this:

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Me- All the working out and healthy eating I’ve been doing is great. But, I enjoyed a few days of indulgence. Fries and ice cream on vacation are good for the soul.

We’re back. Our cups refilled, our souls reflected upon. Onward…until our next getaway.

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Hilton Head, SC March, 2015 It was humid.

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