Thursday, January 31, 2013

Someone to Throw a Ball Around With

If you ask JD how he feels about having 2 girls, he will say, "great! It's all the same, a kid is a kid." But every now and then when he is wearing a crown and getting makeup applied by 2 little girls while sitting elbow deep in a pile of Barbies, he will admit that he wishes he had someone to throw a ball around with. A man can only play princesses for so long before he needs to throw or kick a round object.

Thankfully, his girls enjoy throwing a ball around too. A pink Strawberry Shortcake ball, of course. 

Just as JD was getting his ball fix (that sounds dirty), the girls promptly decided to ditch the balls and play baby dolls. Like the good daddy he is, he traded baseball bats for doll strollers and played with his daughters.

He was just thankful to have someone to throw a ball around with.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bad Mommy?

Friday night, in the midst of Beatrice acting like her 10% self, she told me I was a bad mommy. She was about to get a consequence (the third or fourth of the day), looked me in the eyes and screamed, "you're a BAD MOMMY."

At first, the accusation didn't offend me. She was upset and in the midst of throwing a huge tantrum, she was just reacting emotionally to the situation. I responded calmly with, "no, you have a good mommy. A bad mommy would let her child get away with disobedience. Good mommies discipline their kids."

She got her consequence, we hugged and kissed, it was over. She went downstairs, totally over the events that just took place. I stayed upstairs, allowing the words to penetrate my heart. "You are a bad mommy." You. Are. A. Bad. Mommy. BAD. MOMMY. Whoa. I couldn't shake the ache in my heart and questioning myself about every single parenting decision I've ever made. I started to cry.

We talk a lot about bad and good. She knows that it is bad to lie, good to be kind, bad to push, good to love God, etc. She knows the basic concept of bad and good and yet, she proclaimed her mother as bad.

JD told me she didn't mean it and not to let it bother me. How could I not though? She's 3. Is she really capable of saying things she doesn't mean just to get back at me? Aren't children supposed to be brutally honest at this age? Despite all the great stuff I do for and with her, is the only thing she remembers when it comes time to label me "good" or "bad" the frequency at which she gets disciplined? Goodness, I hope not.

I'm pretty confident in the way that we discipline and parent our children, but I don't know everything. I have made plenty of mistakes that I am aware of and probably hundreds that I am not aware of. I try my best and repent often. My heart's desire is to be the best mommy to these girls that I can be. I believe my efforts will pay off when they are grown. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6. 

It's been a few days and we are all over the "bad mommy" debacle. I've determined it's probably not the last time I'll hear that phrase over the years. Although I hope I don't hear it too often. My girls won't like everything that I do while parenting them, but I hope they know they are loved immensely and cared for to the best of my ability.

I'm pretty sure that makes me a good mommy.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Nap Time Battles

It is nap time. My firstborn is in her room throwing the mother of all fits. She doesn't want to sleep. "Fine," I tell her. "Be still and rest for awhile." She doesn't want to rest. She wants to kick her wall, take her clothes off, and scream like a wild animal. I don't let her get away with doing this. I go up there 3 and 4 times, disciplining each time.

It's not working. She won't stop. I want to cry. Where is my sweet child and who is this maniac destroying her room?

90% of the time, Beatrice is an angel. She is sensitive to others, she is kind and affectionate. The other 10% of the time she has a bad attitude, she is defiant, and would rather endure unpleasant consequences than obey her mother.

When she is acting like her 10% self, I don't know what to do. I try to stay calm and remind myself that I need to be the constant variable in the situation. While she is acting like a crazed lunatic, I need to remain in control and deal with the attitude adjusting without getting angry and emotional. I am a yeller by nature, but I try with all my might not to resort to raising my voice. I fail almost every single time. What can I do?

I want to go up there and tell her to knock it off. Acting like a brat is ruining both of our day. Why can't she just lie still for 45 minutes and play quietly? She knows she's getting a consequence every time I come upstairs to tell her to be quiet. Why won't she just give in and settle down? But saying all that is not going to work. I've tried before. She's 3 and even though she's really smart, I can't reason with a 3 year old.

Every day is not always a bad day. When we have a bad one though, I want to call a therapist. I want to interrogate every mother of well-mannered daughters and absorb all the wisdom and insight they can give me. Sometimes, I want to throw in the towel. I think she's stronger than me, you guys. I usually end up on my knees though, begging God to help me. Because I won't throw in the towel. I won't give up trying to refine my daughter's rebellion into obedience. I love her too much.

So I'm gonna go back up there and discipline my child again. She's 3 and even though she's acting like a maniac, her mama loves her too much to let her get away with it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Itty Bitty Dining Room Makeover

Everything we own furniture and decor-wise is 5 years old. I know some pieces are meant to last, but I haven't bought anything new for our house since JD and I got married. I'm thankful for what we have, but man, I'm so over most of it. I'm ready for a change. 

Our dining room is right off of the living room on the main floor of our house. We use it 3 times a day so it is one of the most used rooms in our home. Before my tiny little makeover, it was also one of the most drab rooms in our home. 


The absolute worst thing about the dining room is the brass chandelier. It is mammoth, hung way too high, and is about the ugliest thing circa 1980 I've ever laid eyes on. It needs help. 

Since we're in a rental, painting and replacing fixtures aren't possible, so I had to make changes with the centerpiece, table linens, and chandelier. 


It's not my dream dining room, but I think it's a big improvement from the brown-brass-blahness from before. Placemats from World Market. Chandelier shades from Hobby Lobby. Basket from Goodwill, spray-painted black. Green foliage balls from Hobby Lobby. 

Everything was really cheap (total cost under $50) and works well with the art/curtains/rug we already have. I'm liking it better already! I definitely won't wait 5 years before I buy something new for my house again. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sunday Fun Day

Our kids are old enough now that our weekends (and most weekdays) are very full. Saturdays are spent running to and from ballet class, birthday parties, church, and other activities. It is fun, but exhausting. We need a relaxing Sunday every now and then.

This weekend, we went to the beach.

We set out early and arrived before anyone else got there. We spent the next couple of hours building sandcastles, digging for treasure, and practicing beach ballet.

JD and I thought it would be years before we would ever be able to relax on the beach with our kids. Sure, we expected to play and run around with them, but we didn't think we would be lounging in the sun, not entertaining, for a long time to come.

Our girls pleasantly surprised us by playing together in the sand for a few hours without really needing anything from us. JD took a rest under the beach tent while I sunbathed on the blanket near the girls. It was actually very relaxing.

We had a picnic lunch and were home in time for late naps. It was such a perfect Sunday Fun Day. We hope to make it a regular thing!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Last Week, This Week

Last week, it was 50 degrees and cold. We went to the beach, gray and foggy.

This week, it was 70 and sunny. We went to the beach, warm and clear.

What a difference a week makes.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Seagulls Are Jerks

I have never had a good encounter with a seagull. Every time we go to the beach they are either attacking my beach umbrella, stealing our food, or trying to assault one of my children. I spend the majority of my time shooing them away from our beach blanket or cleaning up the scraps of our lunch strewn all over the sand after being robbed by mobs of birds. They are pesky little creatures and should really think about how badly they treat people.

We went to the beach on Wednesday and my entire picnic got pilfered by seagulls. This happens almost every time we eat oceanside, so at this point, it's probably my fault. Those obnoxious birds waited for us to walk away from the blanket before they ripped open sandwich bags, scattered granola all over the place, and OPENED TUPPERWARE CONTAINERS. Do birds even eat cucumbers? 

Then they pooped everywhere. 

I honestly don't know how to prevent this from happening. They work in groups so I am never dealing with 1 crazy bird. It's thirty or forty maniacal birds using their numbers to intimidate me and take whatever I brought to the beach. I like to call them the flying mafia. These birds are thugs and they are afraid of no one. 

I'm not sure what my options are at this point. Should I offer the seagulls our lunch as soon as we get to the beach so they won't circle our blanket, waiting for me to turn my head? Forget snacks altogether and starve the girls? Try to share as a peace offering? Avoid the beach???

I don't think any of that would work. Seagulls are scavengers by nature. They are going to steal food. They are going to attack children holding sandwiches. They are going to poop all over your blankets. 

Seagulls are jerks. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Did I Ever Tell You About the Time We Ate Bugs?

Broccoli is our family's favorite vegetable. Steamed, raw, plain, sauced, roasted, or casseroled, everyone gobbles it up and asks for more. We easily eat it 3 times a week in some form or fashion. I buy it fresh in the produce section and choose the organic variety when it's on sale. It's a staple in our house.

It used to be a staple, that is. All of that changed when we ate a hundred million black bugs embedded in broccoli florets for dinner one night. Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew.

It happened back in November. I am just now able to write about it because it has taken me months to get over the disgust and shame of feeding my family insects for dinner.

In my defense, I had no idea my broccoli was infested. I bought the organic variety, washed it, quartered it, and steamed it for 10 minutes. I served plates. I called everyone for dinner. We thanked God for the food set before us. We began eating.

Everything was fine until I forked a too-big piece and bit half off. Then my eyes beheld the horror of the situation. I saw hundreds of black bugs. Everywhere. They were all dead of course, but who cares. Bugs are bugs, dead or alive, I certainly don't want to eat them. And boy, did I ever eat them. As well as JD and Beatrice and Penelope.

The worst part of this story is that we ate a lot of bugs. Our plates were almost completely empty before we discovered the infestation. "How could one not know they were eating bugs?," you may be asking yourself. Well, we never use the overhead light in the dining room. The light from that thing is bright and abrasive so I turn on the wall sconces and a buffet lamp instead. Also, I overcooked the broccoli a bit so the tiny little buds at the end were dark green. The bugs were the same size and tightly tucked into the branches under the florets, totally out of sight. In our dark dining room, those things were impossible to see.

After I bit off half of my too-big bite and saw the bugs, I went into the kitchen to investigate under the light. It was then that I saw dead bugs everywhere. In my broccoli, on my plate, in the pot I steamed it in, on the serving spoon. Everywhere. If I had a mirror, I'm sure I would have found them in my teeth too. How could I not see this earlier??? I told everyone to stop eating immediately.

I was in denial for half a second and asked JD if the sesame seed sized black things in my broccoli were bugs. He cut into his remaining portion and saw thousands of them. I turned the lights on. Bugs were covering our plates. We ate bugs. We fed our kids bugs. We didn't know how to move on from that moment, so we laughed and cried and held each other.

Months later, we are still traumatized. JD said it would have been better if we never discovered them in the first place. At least then we would still have our innocence. And could sleep at night knowing that we fed our kids bugs. 

I have still not bought fresh broccoli since the incident and I'm not sure that I ever will again. I have purchased frozen broccoli that is diced into small bite sized pieces, but honestly, JD and I are so skeeved out by the fact that we ate bugs, we barely eat it. Thankfully, the girls are oblivious and still eat it with carefree abandon. Mommy's so sorry, girls. 

Upon googling, I learned that tiny black bugs are pretty common with organic broccoli. Washing them out is often futile since they hunker down deep into the florets. I should feel better about feeding my family organic bugs, right? I mean, if one's going to ingest hundreds of thousands of insects they better not have any fillers or preservatives. That's always been my motto!

Anyone wanna come over for dinner?

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Beatrice started ballet today. Cute doesn't properly describe what happened at that ballet studio. There were tiny pink leotards with panties peaking out from the leg openings, tight buns on top of bouncy heads, and little girls flittering and fluttering, prancing and frolicking in front of big mirrors, smiling at their reflections, so proud of themselves.

No, cute does not do today's class justice.

Beatrice did really well. She quickly learned to listen to her teacher and follow instructions. She was actually good at the exercises too.

I  never wanted to become one of those crazy stage moms that has big ambitions for her little girl, but after watching Beatrice today, I have big ambitions for my little girl. I want her to be a ballerina. I see lead roles and big recitals in her future. She's gonna be good, you guys. Today, a star was born. And I may be a little crazy. 

My little ballerina completely loved it. She made a friend and has been practicing her moves all day. I can't wait for next Saturday. I may be more excited than she is.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year

I don't typically make New Year's resolutions. I like to make a few goals for the coming year to keep things moving in my life. This year I have a really long list that I'd like to commit to. Things like being a servant to others, pouring into teaching my girls about God, walking closer with Him and cultivating a deeper relationship than I've ever had. Have you ever just wanted to be with God? I totally do this year. I also want to flex my cooking muscles and branch out on the typical things we eat. I want to be more involved with our community and get the girls involved in more group activities. I want to make more time for the beach. We live so close, for goodness sakes! And I want to take the time to enjoy little luxuries, like really good coffee in Beverly Hills and cheap pedicures once in awhile. I want to be a better hostess and open my home to friends more often. I want to run long distances again. I want to make more time to sew and crochet and be crafty to my little heart's desire. I want to be a really good friend to a few more people, instead of being a really good friend to 1 or 2. I want to become a better time manager and a better housekeeper. And I want to simplify and clean up and purge the unneeded, unwanted things in my life. Basically, I want to rock 2013. 

I usually get in a funky mood after taking all the Christmas decorations down because my house seems so empty without the tree and twinkling lights, but this year I'm glad to see it go. I don't know what it is, but I have a strong desire to clean up and purge the unneeded, unwanted things in my life. 

I actually started my clean up initiative before the New Year. I have been cleaning out closets and toy bins and donating, eBaying, and repurposing for the past few weeks. I just feel the need to release the crap, you know?

I'm excited about the New Year and the challenges and adventures ahead. I'm glad to see the holidays packed away until next December. I'm ready to rock 2013! And drink more fancy lattes.