Sunday, January 26, 2014

What to do when water is pouring out of your ceiling.

In eleven easy steps.

You hear water.  It's 6:30 in the morning and you think to yourself, "Man, it is really coming down out there."

Step One:  Head over to the dining room window and watch as the water cascades down the window pane. Nature is amazing.  

Step Two: In horror, you realize that the water is cascading down on the same side of the window you are on.  You step back and like an offensive hip hop song you see that the water is indeed, FROM THE WINDOW TO THE WALL...everywhere.  It's like someone turned on a faucet in your ceiling and water is pouring out of the air vent.

Step Three: This is a critical step. Don't skip it.  Stand there and stare....maybe let your mouth hang open.

Step Four:  Run upstairs, turning on all the lights on the way and yell for your husband to get up.

Once the two of you are downstairs and assessing the situation, surely a plan will form.

Step Five:  Both of you stand there and stare.  Together.  Maybe hold hands.  This is a moment.

Step Six: Husband gets a few buckets while you go outside and unsuccessfully shut the water off by turning all of the power off to the house.  Consider running through the gate to freedom rather than facing family ever again.  You could make it.  They are, after all, currently in complete darkness. I'm just saying, there could be a main water shutoff "switch" instead of a "valve".

Step Seven:  Come back inside and stare at cell phone while husband continues to rotate buckets.  Realize there is no one a phone call away that can help you.  NO ONE!  YOU ARE ALL ALONE. You and your husband could be stranded for the next few days, months or years taking turns in the bucket rotation.  What can I google to solve this crisis?

Step Eight: Go out into the street and wander up and down it in your red and hot pink owl pajamas and soaked house shoes looking for someone, anyone, who will save you from this disaster.  Do the 360 degree turn thing in the middle of the street a la Jennifer Love Hewitt in I Know What you Did Last Summer and yell at the universe as you realize that, again, there is no one.  Do this with much less makeup and way less cleavage because, well...37 year old helpless mother of two in owl pajamas.

Step Nine:  Call the fire department and open your conversation with a three minute apology about the fact that what you are about to request of them, is not a real emergency and how you KNOW that you should KNOW where the valve thingies are in your house.

Step Ten: Firemen arrive and shut water off before fire engine is even cut off. Offer them one of your children in gratitude. Over thank them.  To the point where everyone is just uncomfortable.  Feel a little better when they tell you they do this a lot.

Step Eleven:  Learn where all the valve thingies are.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Yep, I overslept.

It’s 6:45AM and I have managed to successfully “snooze” 8 times and now, as I look at my phone, I realize that my son has approximately 6 minutes to get completely ready for school and BE at the bus stop.

Excellent.  I love starting the day with this much adrenaline.

I shoot out of bed and run to stand over him, “GET UP, WE’VE GOT TO GO, YOU NEED TO GET DRESSED…NOW.”  I am 99.9% certain that I am more annoying than any alarm clock that has ever been invented. This is confirmed when he groans and pushes my face away, clearly rejecting being awakened boot camp style.

Where is his sense of urgency?  Does he not get that I LET him sleep in by mindlessly hitting snooze all those times?  “GET UP.” I give one final nose-to-nose wake up call.

I throw clothes at his head and run downstairs to make a bottle for the baby.  I chuck a full milk bottle at the smiling, soaked-to-the-sheet-but-I-can’t-deal-with-that-right-now baby and turn on his shows.  

Wesley gets really cranky when he misses his favorite program, “Find the Acorn.”  I hover for a moment and he immediately pushes me out of the way so he can get a better view. It’s a daily nail biter…finding that acorn and I know it’s making him way smart because that’s what the commercial for the show promises to do.

Plus, anytime I can outsource parenting...I totally do.  

Satisfied that he’s getting nutrition AND increasing his IQ, I run back in to check on my other son only to find him whimpering in the middle of his room. He’s clearly not awake and his shirt is stuck. He's got arms where a head should be and he has no pants on.  I resume my drill sergeant approach and continue to bark orders at him to hurry.

I do this because I most definitely want him to grow up with anxiety. 

“Mom, I can’t do this. I need help.” 

“Sam, you are almost six…you can do this,” I absently say while holding six different socks in my hands and trying to process for a second what I’m going to do with them.  Where do the socks go?  I finally reach down and find a pair. 

Dang.  It has a hole. Of course it does.

I briefly contemplate tying off the hole and putting it on him anyway. 

Clearly I should have learned how to darn. 

I finally decide to go with the two different socks that would look the least different when a shoe is on.  I just hope it’s not “take your shoes off and ‘out’ your mom” day at school because the bottoms are two totally different colors.

I then drag Sam downstairs. 

The next 1.5 minutes is spent brushing teeth, packing a nutritionally questionable lunch and trying to find a discouraging way to ask if he wants breakfast. 

Look. Don't judge me.  

We then begin running down the street to the bus stop…this is great because I am incredibly prepared to run.

This also coincides with my daily prayer time and meditation.

Please God don’t let him miss the bus.  Please God don't let my heart explode. 

We make it to the bus stop and I am unable to return the greetings of the other parents as I'm bent over nursing my running cramp and panting.

Suddenly, my son shrieks.  “MOM…IT’S SHOW AND TELL DAY!”  

There is no more terrifying sound than a kid shrieking “mom” and then following it up with something you have 8 seconds to go find, make or buy for school. 

I look down at my pajamas in the hopes that something cool for show and tell somehow got caught on my body as I was walking out the door. 

Nope…that never happens. 

As the bus comes into view, I explain that we’ll see if we can do show and tell some other time.  Which seems to appease him.  I mean THAT or me promising to make it up to him by buying some toy he doesn’t need and with a million pieces that I’m certain will spend most of their time in the mouth of the one year old. 

Part of this promise is to make up for show and tell and part of it is hush money so he won't tell anyone how our morning went and I won't feel as guilty.  

I reflect on all the ways I have already failed as a parent before the sun has even come up when I then remember accidentally spilling wine on his reading assignment the night before. 

That’ll require an email of explanation to the teacher.  How is the best way to start a "here's why my son's reader smells like Chardonnay.." email?  

I watch my son hop on the bus saying one more prayer that the horrific case of bed head clears up before he reaches the school and I finally turn to go.

I make my way back to my house, frightening myself when passing the hall mirror and getting a good look at the beast that walked her son to the bus stop. I lean my face two inches from my Keurig and wait for the coffee to brew before heading upstairs to make sure that they did indeed find the acorn. 

Which, I’m happy to say, they did. 

So at least the day wasn’t a TOTAL failure. 


Friday, September 6, 2013

Man, I Had a Lot of Ideas

Before I got married, I declared that I would NEVER let the sun set on my anger with my husband.

But then 2AM came and everyone was still mad...and tired and I decided that in reality, a good nights rest can sometimes shine a more forgiving light on things in the morning.

Before I had kids, I said I would NEVER allow them to get their dinner before the rest of the table got theirs.  They can just sit patiently, with their hands folded and wait for their meal.

Then I realized what an idiot I was and began ordering my kids chicken nuggets from the parking lot of the restaurant.

I said I would never feed my kids in the grocery store.

How many times have I forgotten to tell the checkout person that the box of teddy grahams is already open? Oops.  

I pinky swore with my doctor that my kid would never know what a Dino-nugget was.

Now, there's an ark's worth of animal shaped foods lurking in my kitchen.  

My kid was never going to be the kid with bed head running into school late clinging their half eaten pop tart.

But, it seems, on days when trying to calm the hair down by licking my hand and patting down the head of a five year old full of objections doesn't do the job,  I indeed have that kid.

My baby was always going to look like he just finished posing for the Pottery Barn Kids catalog.  You know the babies, in the cute monogrammed dinosaur towels?

But he looks like that for just the 45 seconds after his bath...then, he mostly just looks like he finished posing for the Kid With Peanut Butter in His Hair magazine.

I was going to not be a mess.  I was not going to be the person that childless people pointed at when making their case for remaining childless

...but in the hustle and bustle of life,  I fear I may be that woman a lot of the times. And I'm okay with that.

At Kindergarten orientation I scoffed at the transportation form that implied I would ever let MY child ride a bus...certainly not at this age.

But then I sat in elementary school traffic and two days after school started I found myself going through the trash to find the bus riding permission slip.  And what once seemed to be the war zone that I would never let my child enter, was now a luxury chauffeur service that came to my neighborhood  and gave me 45 extra minutes in the morning to drink coffee and catch up on my Judge Judy episodes.

The truth is, I had a lot of ideas.  A lot of theories.  A LOT of judgement.

I'm so thankful that reality was nothing like the cold, rigid and uninteresting ideas milling through my head. Because it's been in the chaos and the moments when things aren't going as I expected that I've felt the deepest love and gratitude for my family.

The soaking wet, naked boys running through the upstairs after bath, dripping water everywhere.

The baby grinning ear to ear while simultaneously running his food encrusted hands through his hair.

The hallway hug you give to your sobbing child who woke up at 2AM having had a nightmare.

The 11th shirt change you have conducted in one day on the teething baby.

The times you and your husband are supposed to be on a date, but you can't help wondering what the kids are doing and find that you are spending your romantic evening discussing how much you hate silly putty.

Yep, that's the reality...and I find it to be way more fun.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Dawn of A New Schedule

I am not going to lie.

I am drained.

Plus I'm constantly sweating.

The other night I was frantically trying to finish making dinner so I could feed everyone before Wesley imploded into a puddle of exhausted tears and I found that I was just drenched in sweat.  It was meltdown o'thirty and I was willing the chicken with my mind to cook faster so it could just pass the salmonella danger zone and I could feed it to everyone and get the night moving.  It's the frantic beginning of school phase paired with the final months of a muggy summer.  It's just one frizzy hair day after another...but with permission slips and school lunches...and sweat.  
I am trying to get used to the demanding schedule that fall brings. You know the one that requires that we get dressed and brush our teeth?  I don't miss the constant questions and the bored faces, but I do miss how Summer requires so little of us as a family.  Summer is just like, "whenever." But then fall comes and it's all like, "NOW."  At parent orientation, I get a schedule telling me, to the minute, when everything is. Things aren't at are at 2:31.

Oh Fall, it's a good thing you have pumpkin lattes and apple spice candles and no humidity because you intimidate and overwhelm me a bit right now.    

When I pictured Sam starting kindergarten, I guess I didn't think about everything that came with it. I didn't think about how "to the minute" our schedules would be.  This year, I have a one year old.  Not a huge pregnant belly and sciatica (thank you Heavenly Father that I don't have a huge pregnant belly and sciatica...oh and Andy also says thank you...but in ALL CAPS).  A one year old.  A mobile one.  One that I'm pretty sure picked something off the bottom of the broom tonight and put it in his mouth (UGH! GROSS! BLEH!).

I don't know, everything just seems so much more hectic.  Not the whole day.  Just like the two hours prior to leaving the house in the morning and the three to four hours before I fling everyone into their respective beds and finally sit down.

Where I find that I'm still sweating.

School starting has been a lot more draining than I thought.  I have had to set an alarm clock.  I haven't set an alarm clock in years.  Since before kids. Throughout our marriage (and even before that) Andy and I have always had this Ladyhawk type schedule (It's a movie from 1985...look it up).  He works at night and I work during the day. It's the way it's always been. We are very used to it.  But it means that literally, one of us is at work and the other is with the kids.  Somedays as I'm coming and he's going, we're literally passing a baby with a full diaper and peanut butter hair to the other one with a quick, "I love you and sorry he smells like that, " before we head to our next obligation.

We are blessed, but somedays, like everyone else, we are so drained from our schedule.

And I'll admit, I'm a bit drained right now.

It's why I don't post much.

It's why I don't socialize much.

It's totally why I bought a movie last night and fell asleep during the opening credits.

But I know this exhaustion will pass.  The baby will eventually stop putting everything in his mouth.  We will acclimate to this new schedule.  And maybe...just maybe I'll even figure out how to beat Level 152 in Candy Crush.

And even until then, the boys daily, remind us why we do it.  We look at them and we thank God for their sweet faces.  We treasure the moments when Samuel cares for Wesley.  We laugh at times like when Wesley presses his face up to the pack and play screen.  We love our special movie nights with Samuel.  We love the love these brothers are already cultivating for each other.

And even in the midst of the craziness, we still find time to steal away for a few moments by ourselves and reflect on how this journey called a family even began.

And we wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

iheart Georgia: Old Chipley Market*

Sunday, I had the great privilege to attend the grand opening of an antique market in Pine Mountain. Old Chipley Market made its official debut and put itself on the map as an antique stop well worth more than a drive-by.    

I love little towns with big history and I LOVE antique shops.  But there is definitely a plethora of definitions when one uses the word “antiques”.   We’ve all been sucked into a store promising beautiful furniture that gives us glimpses into the past as well as looking fabulous in our foyer only to find out we’ve walked into a musty smelling store housing rusty harnesses and boxes of doorknobs. 
And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE junkin’, but if you are looking for “junk”, you will not find it at the Old Chipley Market. 

Purchased in 2013 by Dennis McMahan of Atlanta, the Old Chipley Market is beautifully appointed with gorgeous furniture, d├ęcor and wares that are nothing less than move-into-your-home ready.  One could easily lose hours just taking in the variety, history and quite frankly, trying to decide which item to take home.

I had a great time at Old Chipley Market.  From the front it looks deceptively small, but rest assured, the building goes on and on and is full of must-haves.  No box of doorknobs here.  Trust me, I looked.  Mr. McMahan has built a beautiful store full of tasteful vendors (one of which is my mother-in-law) and it is a touching tribute to the love affair he and his late wife, Margaret have had with antiques throughout their marriage. 

I highly recommend you head down to Pine Mountain and have a visit!

Old Chipley Market
230 S. Main Avenue
Pine Mountain, GA 31822
Open 7 days a week: Monday – Saturday 10AM – 6PM; 
Sunday 12PM – 6PM

From Atlanta, GA: 
Travel I-85 south to I-185. Take Exit 42 (U.S. Highway 27), turn left and travel 12 miles to Pine Mountain.

*This is an unsolicited review and in no way meant to insult people who buy, sell or just prefer boxes of old doorknobs. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

So, Um Yep, It's Raining.

Summer this year has been so different from last year.  For one, I'm not gigantically pregnant, wearing a heart monitor and arguing about the sale price of my husband's Sweetwater. 

I mean mostly I am not doing those things.  

This summer, I have an almost kindergartner and a ten month old...and it's been raining.  A lot. Still, this summer looks VERY different from last summer.  

Last summer, looked a heck of a lot like this.

Yes, Samuel took this picture.  Yes, I'm fairly certain it was so he'd have proof that, as a parent, I phoned in the Summer of 2012.

It's okay because I'm rocking the Summer of 2013.

See...It's the middle of the day and I'm awake. THAT is tremendous progress.

It's been tough finding things for people to do around here with all the rain. But being the slave to educational opportunities that I am, I have come up with plenty of things to occupy everyone's time this summer.  Things that don't involve running laps around my kitchen and shooting water guns in the house (Andy).

This has been the summer of usefulness. Some have used the term "child labor".  Puh-Tay-Toe, Puh-Tah-Toe, people.

Forget summer reading lists, what good does that do for the whole family?  Nothing.  NOTHING.  Besides, I called summer reading list first and I'm almost through with book two in the Divergent series.  I would be through with the book, but my summer goal of getting through Candy Crush met with a minor hiccup when it took longer than expected to get through...well, every level.

Currently, Samuel has been challenged with pest control.  This year we have a wasp nest outside and fruit flies.  Both need to get the heck out of my sight. perfect for a five year old!  They LOVE bugs.  It was hard at first.  I showed him how to get on the Internet for research purposes and there was some whining about not being able to read.

I'm sorry, I just don't accept excuses.

I told him that if he wanted to be an exterminator when he grew up, he needed to start early.

Sure he says he wants to be a fireman, but I can't very well set my house on fire so he can practice.  I'm glad you're going with me on this one.

Anyway, we had a rocky start, what with the literacy issues and potential for stings, but I have to say, Samuel has really had a great attitude through this whole summer.  It's amazing what a kid will do for dinner.

I have to be honest.  Wesley has not been helpful this year. At all.  He needs to be relieved that he's a good sleeper because when it comes to cooperation, he's, well he's the pits. I ask him to say, "mama," he says, "dada." I ask him to eat his dinner get the idea.  No sense embarrassing him with the details.  I feel like he lacks motivation.  He lacks real drive.  I'm thinking of restricting his Exersaucer usage.  I don't know.  Just throwing out some ideas.

He did NOT want to spend the summer inventing a self-cleaning high chair.  Um, he blew raspberries when I suggested he get into organic farming. And I don't even want to tell you the reaction I got when I, very nicely I might add, asked him to look over the last two years of our income tax returns just for a second set of eyes. Frankly, I'm out of ideas with him.

A perfect example:

When Samuel started walking, it took one try to get it on video. As seen here.


So, I have 35 videos varying in length between 4 seconds and 2 minutes of Wesley not walking.  Which one do you want to see?


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bucket List for Moms

I've decided that I spend too much time sitting around disappointed in myself.  There are days that getting a shower and putting on jeans is a day long process.  Forget about brushing my hair.  Why am I so incredibly unproductive? I ask myself this question a lot. Or why am I so drained at the end of the day?  I mean what am I doing with my day, really?  Raising the next generation? Trying to get two boys grown into intelligent, God-fearing, respectful and confident people while trying not to slice my feet on Legos?  Is that really that hard?

I don't seems important but mostly it just seems like I don't have the choice to slack off there even if I wanted to sit in my bathrobe all day and stream Supernatural on Netflix.  I mean, they notice when you don't feed them, or answer their 9 millionth question about zombies, or look up from your game of Candy Crush every five minutes to see "the greatest part" of some Lego movie.

At any rate, I have to give myself a break.  My expectations of myself are a little too lofty at times.  Particularly at this time in my life.  I have to remind myself that I may not write that novel over the next long weekend. The jury is out if I'll even brush my teeth.  Oh I'll have good intentions.  But then, like, lunch rolls around.  And why am I the only one in my house that will eat a handful of wheat thins and call it a meal?

What is up with the foodies in my house?

So it's time to do the unthinkable.  I'm dummying down my bucket list.  Gone are the mountains to summit and the planes to jump out of (yep, so those were never on my bucket list). Enter in the more reasonable goals.  Goals that match this particular time in my life.  Here we go.  Let's start off easy.

1. Finish this blog's been 3 month for crying out loud (as I type, I'm two short minutes from accomplishing this...I already feel like a winner.)

2. Make at least one member of my family (preferably a child) finish their entire prescription - I'm not gonna lie...I'm perpetually 90% on this one, but can I just say that Amoxicillin is freaking annoying.  Keep it in the fridge?  I never remember to put that stuff back in the fridge.  So realistically, is it poisonous if it sits on the counter?  No longer active?  No seriously...I need to know this.

3. Remember to put the Amoxicillin back in the fridge.

4. Buy and change lightbulbs.  - Honestly this is Everest-level impossible, but I can't accomplish all of my goals at one time...I will work up to this one. Perhaps, I will employ a Sherpa to help.

5. When it is determined the pen you are holding doesn't write...throw it away.  STOP.  RACHEL.  Do not put that pen back in the drawer.  It will just piss you off the next time you go to write something down (like the fact that you need to buy lightbulbs).

6. Put the Advil in a spot designated for Advil, then remember that spot.  There is always a frantic search accompanied by angry ranting when a headache sets in.  You can ask Andy.  Side note - this is another excellent job for the Sherpa I'm going to hire.  He can hold the Advil.  Done.

7. Overuse ellipses...done...I rock.

8. Be a grown up, Rachel and change out your table decor.  - So my grandmother not only had every day dishes and fine china, she had Christmas and Thanksgiving dishes that she rotated in and out seasonally.  I have two sets of day dishes that are all mixed together and I am so short on forks and drinking glasses that I have made my family drink out of travel mugs and tonic glasses when company is over.  I do, however, have sixteen martini glasses.

9. Find more friends who exclusively drink martinis.

and finally,

10.  Remember that you don't have to be climbing mountains to be accomplishing great things.  Raising children is a marathon.  A wonderfully overwhelming, exhausting, but fulfilling marathon.  Your children don't see your shortcomings.  They see their mother. Loving. Nurturing. Strong. They watch your treatment of others.  They listen to your words of wisdom and humble prayers to God (I mean, hopefully, if they can still hear, given the fact that they never finished their antibiotics for an ear infection...ever).  They love you unconditionally and think, despite all the failures you see in yourself so plainly, that you are perfect and doing a great job. And if you have trouble remembering #10...just look at their faces. That should say it all.

Blurry but I love the laughter!